Stepping Up Initiative Research Paper

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Those dealing with mental illnesses are three to six times as likely as the general population to wind up in jail, and county leaders are embracing a national initiative to keep them out of jail and receive the treatment they need.
Judy Wortham Wood and Robert Smedley, executive director and deputy director, respectively, of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Wayne & Holmes Counties, spoke about the Stepping Up Initiative with the Wayne County commissioners Monday. They were joined by Capt. James Richards, who oversees the Wayne County Jail.
The aim of the Stepping Up Initiative is to create a movement, not a moment, and establish partnerships in the mental health and criminal justice fields to reduce the number of people incarcerated in
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“I’m looking forward to this,” Richards said.
Ohio is one of three states that will serve as model states, Wood said. The goal is not to make an impact in one, small county, but across the state.
“Jails are becoming a holding and treatment facility (for those with mental health illnesses), and it should not be that way,” Wood said. “We need to focus on recovery.”
The Stepping Up Initiative recognizes how mental illnesses are placing additional burdens on the jail, Commissioner Scott Wiggam said. In the 1980s, there was a concerted effort to move people from institutions into communities with the understanding money would flow to the communities to address the issue.
“Communities have been trying to deal with this for the past 40 years,” Wiggam said.
When people are dealing with mental illnesses and addictions, it creates further strains on the system, Obrecht indicated.
“Drugs mask mental illness,” Smedley said. “After the drugs wear away, the mental illness appears.”
Richards said it would be nice to assess people as they enter the jail in order to connect them with the right

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