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Training For Team Approach To ‘Smart Justice’

July 27th, 2019

Members of the criminal justice system and related agencies in Potter County recently attended an intensive two-day training session focused on proven strategies to improve outcomes for criminal offenders with mental health and/or addiction issues. Studies show that more than half of repeat offenders suffer from one or both of the disorders. Their access to services for mental illness, alcoholism or drug addiction is often limited. Reform measures implemented in many other counties have reduced the recidivism rate (i.e., those who repeatedly cycle through the system). The payoffs for counties that implement the reforms have included cost savings, enhanced public safety, fewer repeat offenders, restored lives and reunited families.

Progress does not come easily. It requires a strategic approach and buy-in from the criminal justice system, county commissioners, human services agencies, jail management and other partners. This week’s workshop focused on developing local solutions through the “Sequential Intercept Mapping” (SIQ) model. Experts guided local officials through an exercise that identifies communication barriers, clarifies roles, and allows each case to be handled effectively and efficiently. Human Services Administrator Jim Kockler arranged for Carol Speed (shown) nd Jennifer Johnson from the GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice to conduct the local training. The team will now analyze the county’s current system and prepare a set of recommendations to effectively implement SIQ locally.

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