Officials discuss mental illness in community, jail


Workshop provides information for organizations in county

MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County officials recently participated in a one-and-a-half-day workshop for the development of integrated strategies to effectively identify and respond to the needs of justice-involved adults with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.

The Miami County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health, requested the Sequential Intercept Mapping workshop to provide assistance to Miami County officials with identifying resources, gaps and barriers in existing systems, according to a release from Sheriff Dave Duchak. The goal is to then develop a strategic plan to promote progress in addressing the criminal justice diversion and treatment needs of adults with mental illness and co-occurring disorders in contact with the criminal justice system, according to the release.

Participants in the workshop included 30 individuals representing multiple stakeholders within the county. These included Sheriff Dave Duchak, Commissioner Greg Simmons, representatives from the Miami County Jail, Municipal and Common Pleas Court, Tri County Board of Recovery and Mental Health, Recovery and Wellness, NAMI of Darke, Miami and Shelby County, Miami County Recovery Council, Miami County Job and Family Services, Veteran’s Services, Family Abuse Shelter, Community Housing, Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Riverside), Troy Fire and Police departments, Upper Valley Medical Center, Piqua Compassion Network and community members that utilize services.

The participants focused on strategic planning efforts on cross-systems collaboration and the reduction of system and service barriers with an integrated, local action plan, the release states. Participants discussed current practices and potential barriers to systems change with the assistance of the Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence. During the workshop, according to the release, participants developed a map detailing the flow of criminal justice contact from arrest to incarceration, referral and access to services, and points for diversion from the justice system across Miami County. Strategies for systems change implemented by other US communities were considered.

Nationally, individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders are an increasing presence within the criminal justice system, the release states. This problem is especially pronounced in rural communities, according to the release, where the availability, accessibility, and acceptability of behavioral health services prevent many from receiving the help that they need. The release sate that with more than 650,000 individuals returning to communities each year from US prisons and seven million individuals returning from jails, effective linkage and access to community services for people with a mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorder is critical to reduce an often repetitious cycle of justice involvement.

The workshop was funded through a grant overseen by the Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence. The preliminary report will be completed this spring. Assistant jail administrator Dawn Thomas and Kim McGuirk of the Tri-County Board of Recovery & Mental Health coordinated and oversaw the workshop.

Workshop provides information for organizations in county