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Special Populations Workgroup

 

Special Populations Workgroup member Steve Miccio, President of PEOPLe,  Inc,;  Leon Evans, President and CEO of the Center for Health Care Services in San Antonio;  Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene Clinical Director Margaret Hirst and Deputy County Executive Bill O’Neil  at the Mental Health Association of Orange County, NY Conference on November 10, 2014.The Special Populations Workgroup is researching innovative work that is being done across the nation to improve the criminal justice system. One program being closely looked at is in Bexar County, San Antonio, Texas, where they have focused on “smart justice” including specialized mental health training for police officers and a “Restoration Center”, a separate facility with a full array of mental and physical health services that diverts people with serious mental illness out of jail and into treatment instead. Their work has eliminated overcrowding in the Bexar County Jail, saved the City of San Antonio and the County of Bexar $50 million over the past five years, and is considered a model for the rest of the nation for how to address those with mental illness who come in contact with the criminal justice system.

In November, members of the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council and the Special Populations Workgroup had an opportunity to meet with Leon Evans, who spearheaded Bexar County’s and San Antonio’s efforts. Mr. Evans is the President and CEO of the Center for Health Care Services in San Antonio. He shared the experiences and successes at the Center since its inception over a decade ago.

Learn more about the Center for Health Care Services and how they have been able to divert thousands of individuals from their county jail by relocating them to a place that better addresses their behavioral issues. For an in depth look at services provided and the impact on the relationship between local law enforcement and the community, please view the information below.

Leon Evan’s 11/10/2014 PowerPoint Presentation (.pdf)

 

The Center for Health Care Services - Bexar County: CHCS Roll Call Video -
Restoration Center

 

Video Screenshot - links to video of Bexar County CHCS Roll Call Video - Restoration Center

 

Brave New Films: Why Are We Using Prisons to Treat Mental Illness?

Video Screenshot - links to video of Brave New Films - Why Are We Using Prisons to Treat Mental Illness

 

Dutchess County government, as a part of the new Justice and Transition Center project, is studying the Bexar County model to determine how we can benefit from a similar approach. In conjunction with the work of the Special Populations Work Group, we believe this can be extremely valuable to our criminal justice system efforts. In 2015, the CJC plans to place special focus on diversion and to begin training law enforcement and first responders about how to successfully deal with individuals with mental issues, while also fostering positive relationships in the process.  In the future, as part of the DCJTC, Dutchess County is looking to create a recovery center, similar to the San Antonio Restoration Center, to better address the needs of individuals suffering from mental illness.


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