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PTACC Ticker
Wednesday, March 17th

"Conversations with the Field"

The Prosecutor's Role in Deflecting Those with Behavioral Health Issues Away from the Criminal Justice System
Wednesday, April 7th at 1 pm Eastern

Join us for a conversation to discuss the prosecutor’s role in deflecting those with behavioral health issues away from the criminal justice system. This conversation will feature two panelists who are currently engaged in this work, Deschutes County, Oregon District Attorney John Hummel, and Melissa O’Mara, Assistant Prosecutor at the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey.

These speakers will offer their insig
hts and expertise on the importance of prosecutors playing an active role in deflection efforts, and will offer their experience with their respective programs, including what successes and challenges they’ve faced. The conversation will be moderated by Dave LaBahn, President and CEO of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. Register here.


Future conversations:
April 21st: A Conversation with the Stigma Reduction Strategy Area
Watch past Conversations with the Field here.
Webinar: Denver STAR
Alternative Responses to Calls for Service in Your Community
TOMORROW, Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 2:00 pm ET.
COSSAP in collaboration with Center for Health and Justice at TASC, will be joined by representatives from Denver, Colorado, will discuss their approach to call for service in the community through their STAR (Support Team Assisted Response) program. 

Communities across the country are looking at options for providing alternative responses to calls for service for nonviolent, low-level incidences such as trespassing, substance misuse-related, or behavioral health episodes. Working as a team consisting of mental health clinicians and a paramedic, members of the STAR program are dispatched to call that previously would have been handled by patrol officers. The panelist will discuss the planning and implementation of their program, describe how the program is utilized, and discuss early outcomes. Register here.

Brief: Treatment Advocacy Center’s Office of Research and Public Affairs
Dual Diagnosis:Serious Mental Illness and Co-occurring Substance Use Disorders
TAC published a new evidence brief that sheds light on the numerous challenges faced by people with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders. The report, “Dual Diagnosis: Serious Mental Illness and Co-occurring Substance Use Disorders,” offers an extensive analysis of over 150 separate sources of prominent existing research, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Mental Health Surveillance Study, one of the most robust surveys of mental health facilities in the country. Read the brief.
“Policy solutions should include the better integration of the mental health and substance use treatment systems and an increase in the availability of integrated dual-disorder treatment programs,” write co-authors Elizabeth Sinclair Hancq, Kelli South and Molly Vencel.

A dual diagnosis can have serious consequences in an individual’s life: People with co-occurring disorders are more vulnerable to becoming involved with the criminal justice system. They are also more likely to experience homelessness and it is much more difficult for them to access the necessary treatment that addresses both disorders. Evidence-based treatments to target concurrent substance use disorder and mental illness do exist. However, most individuals face substantial barriers to accessing quality treatment.
Key insights from the report:
  • One in four people with serious mental illness also have a substance use disorder.  
  • Only 12.7% of people with co-occurring serious mental illness and substance use disorders received any treatment for both conditions in 2019.
  • People with serious mental illness are more likely to smoke tobacco and misuse alcohol compared to those without mental illness.
  • Cannabis is one of the most common drugs used by people with serious mental illness. Almost 40% of individuals with serious mental illness used marijuana in 2019.
Opinion: The Colorado Sun A law-enforcement case for supervised drug-use sites
Jason Thomas of Aurora is a former detention officer and a speaker for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership
Last year, at least 1,223 Coloradans died of overdoses, 20% more than in 2019. The authors of the piece believe that this may be the wake-up call for our governments to start listening to the public health experts and law enforcement professionals calling for overdose prevention centers (OPCs are also known as supervised-use sites). OPCs are places where people with existing drug problems can consume drugs in a safe environment. They are an evidence-based intervention that can reduce fatal overdoses in a community, curb the spread of diseases caused by sharing consumption equipment, and improve access to treatment. 

A cost-benefit analysis of opening an OPC in Baltimore found that a single facility would prevent six overdose deaths, 78 emergency room visits, and 108 ambulance calls annually. After accounting for the costs of the program, researchers estimated it would generate $6 million in savings each year. Read the op-ed.

Seminar: Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit
Relieving the Burden on Law Enforcement in the Opioid Epidemic: The Evolution of Deflection, Pre-Arrest Diversion, and Co-Responder Programs
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 from 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM ET
This session will explore the evolution, growth, and support (nationally, state, and locally) of deflection and pre-arrest diversion. Jac Charlier from the Center for Health and Justice at TASC will be presenting on how the opioid epidemic has prompted law enforcement to look for new ways to help those in their communities struggling with opioid or other substance use disorders rather than through arrest. 

Presenters will: discuss challenges for programs, such as limited treatment capacity and a resistant police culture, as well as race and equity, and how to address those challenges and offer a review of current research on deflection programs and directions for future research.

Finally, there will be a presentation from the Coordinator of the Police and Community Overdose Response Team (also known as “Nu-Start”) in Hamilton County, Tennessee. The program coordinator and evaluator will share practical information about their program and their experiences including steps taken to develop, implement, and evaluate the program’s effectiveness. Register here.


PTACC's Deflection Classifieds
Funding Opportunities

Bureau of Justice Assistance
  • Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)- Closes 4/2
  • Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) for State Prisoners Program- Closes 4/13
  • Tribal Justice System Infrastructure Training and Technical Assistance Initiative- Closes 4/21
  • Innovations in Reentry Initiative: Building System Capacity & Testing Strategies to Reduce Recidivism- Closes 4/27
View these and other BJA funding opportunities here

JCOIN: Rapid Innovation Grant (J-RIG) Program–2021 Summer Cycle
Application Due Date: May 3, 2021
A grant to support small research grants to study newly emerging policies, practices, or interventions that address prevention and treatment of addiction among justice-involved populations. Learn more.

Application Due Date: May 3, 2021
The MacArthur Foundation and Policy Research, Inc. announced a solicitation for applications for a behavioral health and criminal justice focused expansion of the Safety and Justice Challenge: the IMPACT Network. Learn more. #rethinkjails 
Did you see it?

Pandemic Continues to Disrupt Incarceration and Policing
One of the biggest impacts that the pandemic has had on policing is that officers have been making fewer arrests for misdemeanors. Instead, they issue citations to keep jail populations down. While for many, this switch from handcuffs to citation slips was done instinctually and anecdotally by many police departments, others have documented directives to do so. Read more.

To truly reform criminal justice, women need more access to diversion programs
People with criminal records generally experience unemployment at five times the rate of the population as a whole. They are also shut out of housing and educational opportunities. With more and more women serving as head of their households, their families are particularly impacted by the pervasive use of criminal records in hiring decisions. Over two-thirds of incarcerated women are also mothers, and many are the sole wage-earners for their families. If women are denied the opportunity to further their education or secure gainful and meaningful employment because of their records, entire families are entrapped in poverty, possibly for generations. Despite all of this, historically, reentry and criminal justice reform efforts are focused on men. Women need more access to diversion programs. Read the op-ed.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Funding to Support Comprehensive Community Prevention, Treatment, Recovery and Health Services
The Biden Administration will provide nearly $2.5 billion in funding to states and territories to address the nation’s mental illness and addiction crisis, which has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will direct $1.65 billion in Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funding and $825 million in Community Mental Health Services Block Grant funding to states and territories. Funding allocation tables can be viewed here: 
FY 2021 Community Mental Health Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental AwardsFY 2021 Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards.

Want to get involved in the growing field of deflection and pre-arrest diversion?
Then join a PTACC Strategy Area

Check It Out! The PTACC National Pre-Arrest Diversion Resource Website.

PTACC is the NATIONAL voice of the pre-arrest diversion field and provides vision, leadership, advocacy, and education to facilitate the growth and practice of deflection and pre-arrest diversion across the United States.
© 2020 Police, Treatment and Community Collaborative (PTACC)

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The PTACC Ticker is a summary of resources, news stories, opportunities, and updates for deflection related issues, including the topics of police and other first responders, treatment, and community. It is compiled and published by PTACC each Wednesday.

Some headlines and text have been altered by PTACC for clarity or emphasis, or to minimize discriminatory or stigmatizing language. Opinions in the articles and op-eds do not necessarily express the views of PTACC and our partners.