Southwest Behavioral & Health Services Receives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Achievement Award

Posted By on June 23, 2020

Southwest Behavioral & Health Services’ Criminal Justice Engagement Team (CJET) has received a Criminal Justice and Public Safety Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The award is based on outstanding achievement of effective and innovative program implementation in reducing criminal justice involvement for individuals suffering the effects of serious mental illness (SMI).

Around eight percent of those incarcerated in Maricopa County struggle with SMI. Southwest Behavioral & Health Services formed CJET in partnership with the County and community stakeholders to offer viable alternatives to costly incarceration.

The CJET team works with individuals playing an active role in their recovery and helps individuals to avoid future jail time by connecting them to appropriate healthcare and community support services.

As a voluntary program, newly-incarcerated participants and correctional health staff work with CJET to create a safe community release and treatment plan. Once approved by a Judicial Officer, the participant is released into the care of CJET to carry out the treatment plan and assist with successful reintegration back into the community. Individuals who successfully obtain behavioral health treatment have an increased likelihood of avoiding future contacts with the criminal justice system.

“In the past two years of the program, 71 percent of participants followed through with their community release plans, said Deborah Woodard, Vice President of Community Resilience at SB&H. “By implementing alternatives and offering integrated healthcare, we’re able to provide the opportunities and support people really need in order to be successful in the community. The outcome has been a reduction in jail recidivism within the target population.”

Frontdoors Media

About Frontdoors Media

Frontdoors Media celebrates the people and groups who give generously and work to build the future of our community. It’s the premier source of information – and inspiration – for those who strive to make the Valley of the Sun a better place to live.