GRANT AWARDED TO ENHANCE FORENSIC REINTEGRATION

January 3rd, 2017

The State of Florida Department of Children and Families awarded Collier County Housing, Human and Veteran Services a criminal justice mental health and substance abuse reinvestment grant to expand the Collier County Forensic Intensive Reintegration Support Team (FIRST) program. The three-year grant totals $1,042,506 of which David Lawrence Center receives $377,421 spread out over the three-year term.

Reinvestment grants fund initiatives that increase public safety, avert increased spending on criminal and juvenile justice, and improve the accessibility and effectiveness of mental health and substance abuse treatment services.

The grant will be used to enhance jail and community-based transitional supports provided by the Forensic Intensive Reintegration Support Team (FIRST) which includes services provided by David Lawrence Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness of Collier County (NAMI), and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office along with their contracted healthcare provider Armor. The multidisciplinary team consists of in-jail screeners, a case manager, therapist and a basic living skills coach who help adults with mental illness and/or substance use disorders successfully integrate into society following a period of incarceration.

The FIRST program, now in its third year, provides early access to assessments, treatment planning, referrals and coordination for post-release services. Services include specialized, individualized discharge planning, forensic intensive case management, supported employment and living skills coaching, accessible and appropriate medication, assistance with disability benefits attainment, peer support, integrated dual disorder treatment, cognitive behavioral interventions targeted to risk factors and early access to treatment courts when appropriate. David Lawrence Center provides the case management and therapeutic treatment services component of the program.

A portion of the grant funding will also support enhancement funds which are available to help pay for items necessary to facilitate community integration, including housing, transportation and medications.

The goals of this three-year grant cycle include: improve identification and serve more individuals, increase capacity for Mental Health Court and Veteran’s Court; expand and enhance the substance abuse treatment continuum through the utilization of Drug Court and integrated dual disorders treatment; improve local options for integrated, low income supported housing; streamline the process for referral and admission to treatment courts; ensure that persons admitted to programs are those with greatest risk for recidivism; and expand access to trauma-specific counseling.

USA - 2013 300 dpi John Walker and SW Parra photo illustration of a person behind bars with pysch medications floating in front; for The Fresno Bee's Watchdog Report on Fresno County Jails and the reduction of pysch medications to mentally handicapped inmates. (The Fresno Bee/MCT)

With JAIL-MENTALLYILL, Fresno Bee by Marc Benjamin and Barbara Anderson

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