The Stepping Up Initiative - The Ohio Project
The Stepping Up Ohio Initiative works directly with county leaders to address the overrepresentation of persons with mental health and substance abuse disorders in jail and the criminal justice system. Recognizing this serious trend throughout Ohio and the nation, we sponsored Stepping Up Ohio, with a unique approach to activate elected county officials and to pass a formal resolution demonstrating publicly their willingness to address this challenge in their community.
The Stepping Up Ohio Team invite community leaders representing mental health treatment providers, law enforcement, judges, probation officers, families, and other agencies working in the criminal justice system to participate in meetings designed to organize the local effort, discuss available resources, and implement systemic changes to improve the response to the needs of individuals with mental health issues who continuously cycle through their local system.
In addition to working at the community level, Stepping Up Ohio created a state-level steering committee of policy leaders to examine the challenges and barriers to change, to promote consistent messages and priorities, and to achieve the needed outcomes for this target population, from reduced bookings and length of stay in jails to connecting people with medication and treatment services and decreasing recidivism.