October 20, 2005
1. Who we Are!
2. 850 People Attend First National CIT Conference.
3. CIT in Rural Communities
4. The People Have Spoken!
5. Better Mental Health Treatment Rates As Top Priority Of
7. The Sheriff's Perspective.
8. Does Jail Diversion Work?
9. Helpful Websites.
The NAMI Law and
NAMI welcomes Bonnie Sultan as Coordinator of the
Bonnie can be reached at the following address:
CIT Program Coordinator
Colonial Place Three
In May, more than 800 people representing criminal justice, mental health and advocates from across the country came together in
By Donald G. Turnbaugh, Board Member and Past President,
(CIT) Conference. Moms and dads in their seventies mixed with officers and deputies in their twenties. In its truest sense, these were the grassroots people actually involved in the design, development, and delivery of their local CIT programs.
Others may have shared the interest and inspiration of a national conference, but NAMI Ohio,
The conference attendees were made welcome by their
Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Supreme Court of Ohio, spoke from personal knowledge of the current approaches to mental illness and the need for diversion programs.
At any conference featuring CIT, the stars of the show are Major Sam Cochran, CIT coordinator for the Memphis Police Department, and Randolph Dupont, Ph.D., of the
Major Cochran spoke of CIT as the "elephant" in the living room, a metaphor to which those who have promoted CIT in their community could relate. He went on to recognize the amount of planning and scheduling, along with determination and persistence, that is required to form the necessary partnerships to establish CIT.
It was heartening to hear speaker after speaker praise NAMI and its members. And, the pleasure was doubled when NAMI National Board members addressed the family and consumer perspective on interaction with law enforcement during a crisis. Gloria Walker spoke from personal experience about the fear of the police some families and consumers had before CIT. Risdon Slate, Ph.D., told of his dreams and delusions that took him from probation officer to prisoner to patient to professor. Jim Dailey was doubly proud that his son is doing well and his daughter is a Louisville CIT officer. And once again, the incomparable Fred Frese brilliantly drew upon humor to humanize these horrible illnesses. Yet, he also conveyed an inspiring message: that others may go from patient to provider at the same facility.
Ron Honberg, NAMI director for policy and legal affairs, presented an overview of the preliminary results of the nationwide survey documenting the involvement of NAMI in CIT. NAMI wants officers to be prepared, trained, knowledgeable in de-escalation techniques, and allowed options.
The Memphis Model CIT Program, the standard-bearer for the life-saving, award-winning CIT program for 17 years, set the stage. To ensure fidelity across a nationwide program, work has begun on national core elements and a standardized curriculum. Elements include training, community partnerships, a single point of entry, selected volunteer officers, repetitive responses, and some flexibility. The many versions of "CIT" have drawn the interest and involvement of the Police Executive Research Forum, the Consensus Project, the
The 33 conference workshops were directed to both those starting CIT programs and those improving an existing CIT program. Throughout the conference, the choice of topics and speakers set a high standard of excellence. More than 200 people attended the workshop, "Suicide by Cop."
Recognition at the awards dinner went to the following: Lt. Christopher Bowling, Columbus Police, Ohio CIT Officer of the Year; Major Sam Cochran, National CIT Coordinator of the Year Award; and Officer Terry Golden,
Most departments have some identifying pin worn on the uniform, indicating that an officer is "CIT-trained." The "Best-Looking CIT Pin" winner was
Much was learned from the speakers, in workshops, and in informal discussions. People still become police officers to help others, and CIT allows them to fulfill this goal. Experienced patrol officers recognize mental illness as a potential problem they deal with every day, and they see CIT as part of the solution. Some officers may not desire CIT training or be suited for CIT, two reasons why selected volunteers perform best. Psychiatrists and attorneys practice to become better at what they do. For CIT officers, responding to calls of persons in crisis makes them better, too.
Finally, family members have the most to gain from CIT. It is our loved ones who benefit when officers attend the 40-hour training. Family members can accomplish the same by attending the NAMI Family-To-Family Education Program - "a CIT course for families."
Source: NAMI Advocate, Summer 2005
Among the many groups attending the Columbus CIT conference were members of the Piscataquis Regional CIT team of
Funding was made available through a grant of $23,000 from the Maine Justice Assistance Council. Their work shows us that CIT can work in all communities! For more information, see the Bangor Daily News, March 14, 2005 issue, p. B1.
Residents of the Roanoke Valley, Virginia, ranked proper access to mental health care as a top priority.
A poll conducted by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids of California found that law enforcement officers, probation chiefs, and district attorneys identified mental health services as a significant priority for young adults in juvenile justice and adult correctional facilities. The majority of respondents believe mental health programs are more effective in the reduction of crime than other law enforcement methods such as prosecuting a minor as an adult. Proposition 63, a ballot initiative adopted by
A recent article in the Deseret Morning News reported that more than two dozen new officers have received CIT training, adding to an already large group of designated CIT officers in that city. The Salt Lake City Police department reports that in 2004, they received more than 1,000 CIT calls involving citizens with mental illness. Former NAMI-Utah Executive Director Vicki Cotrelle, who was killed recently in a tragic auto accident, was very instrumental in bringing CIT to
Thomas N. Faust, Executive Director of the National Sheriff's Association discusses the intersection between the criminal justice and mental health fields in an editorial titled Shift the Responsibility of Untreated Mental Illness Out of the Criminal Justice System (Corrections Today, April 2003, 6-7). Mr. Faust expresses the NSA's support of more funding and community resources for people with mental illness, as individuals with these disorders are becoming more and more prevalent in the
In these times of budget deficits, advocates trying to promote jail diversion in their communities must effectively make the case that these programs are successful in (a) reducing crime and (b) saving costs.
Since most jail diversion programs are quite new, there is relatively little data available to make this case. However, several studies are noteworthy.
For example, Steadman and
(Steadman, Henry J.,
These research findings are consistent with data reported by two exemplary jail diversion programs, Thresholds in
Project Link demonstrated even more dramatic reductions in costs ($39, 518 per participant). Click here to view the Thresholds and Project Link data.
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance
Administer federal mental health courts program, provide resources and information for jail diversion, publications and reports, information about federal funding sources.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Administer federal jail diversion grant program, resource information, publications, and other helpful information about criminal justice and mental health.
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Information about criminal justice and mental health, community policing, and other relevant information.
We are interested in your reactions to this electronic newsletter and how we might improve it. We are also eager to hear from you about news or stories we can include for future issues of CIT in Action. Please send your comments or ideas to Bonnie Sultan, BonnieS@nami.org, or Ron Honberg, RonH@nami.org. Thanks!
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