"The mission of David's Hope is to promote and secure treatment for those with mental health disorders and addictions through increasing collaboration between our mental health and criminal justice systems."
David's Hope seeks to divert those with mental illnesses or co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders away from the criminal justice system and into comprehensive community-based treatment and support services. David's Hope teaches people how to advocate for themselves and others by empowering them with information, training, resources, and mentoring. Through education and mentoring we hope to create understanding in the community of the issues facing those living with mental illness involved in the criminal justice system.
David's Hope Criminal Justice Mental Health Collaboration Project (CJMHCP)
In 1841, Dorothea Dix was appalled by the conditions she observed in Massachusetts jails and crusaded for more humane responses to the needs of those inmates with mental illnesses. Within a decade her work was translated into therapeutic state run institutions that traded punishment for care. Over the next century, without sustained commitment to Dix's vision for recovery, these facilities fell into disrepair to the point that today, hundreds of thousands of people with mental illnesses crowd our county jails and state prisons.
In recent years, Arizona has incarcerated a higher number of people suffering from mental disabilities than almost any other state in our nation. David's Hope is dedicated to seeing that change and to improving criminal justice mental health collaboration in Arizona and across the nation. In 2014 we are officially launching our David's Hope Criminal Justice Mental Health Collaboration Project. Our efforts will continue to focus on Crisis, Corrections, Diversion, Juvenile Justice and Reentry. The David's Hope Criminal Justice Mental Health Collaboration Project will continue to build on the foundation we have laid in the Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition. David's Hope was asked to take the leadership of the coalition in 2012 and since that time we have continued to build a grass roots movement which is reaching into the halls of government.
In 2014 the David's Hope Criminal Justice Mental Health Collaboration Project will take it to the next level as we reach out to both officials in government, representatives of mental health and substance abuse treatment providers and recipients of mental health services to promote cross system collaboration. David's Hope promotes evidence based practices which will keep our communities safer by closing the revolving door of those with mental illness and addictions recycling through our jails and prisons. The chart below is useful in showing how improving access to and participation in effective mental health and addiction treatment will save our taxpayer dollars from being wasted on expensive back end fixes after crisis erupts.
Costs of Supportive Housing versus Alternatives in Phoenix
Criminal Justice Mental Health Collaboration Project - Reentry
The majority of all prisoners will return to our communities. Our coalition serves the formerly incarcerated by offering them the tools they need to rebuild hope for themselves and for those whose lives they touch.
The David's Hope Criminal Justice Mental Health Collaboration Project recognizes that excessive barriers which discourage and prevent former prisoners from reentering their communities after periods of incarceration are often well meaning but misguided attempts at keeping our communities safer. The Collaboration Project seeks to create partnerships with government and private business to identify and eliminate excessive hardships placed on men and women leaving our correctional systems.
In 2010 under the leadership of then Arizona's U S Attorney, Dennis Burke, the Arizona Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (LECC) was formed. The committee sought input from federal, state, and local corrections, probation officers and law enforcement officers as well as the faith community and dozens of other reentry stake holders. The recommendations for program design were called the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee Weed and Seed Reentry Initiative 2010. Although the committee no longer formally exists the David's Hope Criminal Justice Mental Health Collaboration Project endeavors to keep the effort alive and in the mainstream of reentry efforts in Arizona. Most of the mission and goals below have been derived from the work of the Weed and Seed Committee.
Bringing together a broad coalition of stakeholders in order to promote the successful reintegration of the formerly incarcerated, to reduce crime and recidivism, to increase the safety of our communities and to ensure the rights and safety of victims of crime.
Goals and Objectives
- Strengthen coordination and information sharing among reentry stakeholders.
- Educate and prepare communities for the reintegration of the formerly incarcerated.
- Strengthen faith-based partnerships, mentoring, and other community based partnerships, to promote successful family and community reintegration.
- Engage families, children, and juveniles through each phase of the reentry spectrum.
- Address gaps in transition from courts to corrections, probation and parole.
Criminal Justice Setting
Within the criminal justice system we are working to increase the recognition of mental illness as an organic brain disease which affects behavior. We seek to secure mental health treatment rather than incarceration for those who have been responsible for breaking our criminal codes due to untreated symptoms of their mental illness. In conjunction with this effort, David's Hope is working to increase our legal systems use of court monitored mental health treatment. We must hold our public mental health care providers accountable for outcomes. On average, people with mental illnesses remain incarcerated eight times longer than people without mental illnesses arrested for the exact same charge, at a cost seven times higher. With little treatment available, many individuals cycle through the system for the majority of their adult lives. By demanding transparency and accountability from our mental health and criminal justice systems, we know our cities will remain safer. As we decrease the effects of untreated mental illness in our nation, we will bring common sense solutions to problems such as substance abuse and homelessness. It is treatment not incarceration, that will equip those who suffer with mental illness to maintain wellness for themselves and our communities.
David's Hope leads the Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition. The coalition's mission is to promote a full range of opportunities, from diversion to re-entry, for those with mental illness engaged in our criminal justice system. The coalition's vision is, prevention, diversion, and reintegration.
Through public consensus David's Hope provides feedback to behavioral health providers, as to effective policies which will reduce crimes that are occurring as a result of improperly treated mental illness. We work to provide detailed input to probation and parole departments regarding the safety of those with mental health issues. Within our collaboration of stakeholders, we identify lapses in care to those within the justice system who are suffering from mental illness and promote system improvements which will prevent recidivism
Bringing Evidence Based Practices to Arizona
David's Hope is creating a statewide coalition which will promote the use of best practices in Arizona's mental health and criminal justice systems. We invite both individuals and organizations to become a part of our formal network. We will be addressing such issues as safety and health care in our jails and prisons, ending the practice of placing individuals diagnosed with a mental illness in solitary confinement, reforming mandatory sentencing laws and limiting the practice of sentencing juveniles in the adult system. Rehabilitation and education of offenders during both incarceration and re-entry is the key which will make our communities safer and strengthen families. Our coalition seeks to be inclusive of a diverse range of reform issues and to be a catalyst which will reduce the numbers we incarcerate, while providing better outcomes through treatment and diversion opportunities. Incarceration can not cure or alleviate the effects of mental health and substance use disorders but treatment can. David's Hope needs you to help make our cross system collaboration a success, so give us a call today.
David's Hope leads the Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition and invites you to become a partner of the coalition. We currently hold monthly work groups on Crisis, Reentry, Juvenile Justice and Corrections. Our coalition members are invited to participate at any of these junctures where mental health and criminal justice intersect. Please call for meeting times/locations. Conference call in is available for many of our work groups. We invite you to join with us as we work to protect human rights for those with mental disabilities in our criminal justice system.