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Resource Reentry Center - More than $600,000 Committed

4:03 PM

More Than $600,000 Committed to Support Bernalillo County in Reducing the Number of People in Jail with Mental Illness

Funds will develop program featuring peer support case managers to connect individuals to services as they exit incarceration

Bernalillo County, NM- Bernalillo County officials are pleased to announce that the Department of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) is the recipient of a Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs for over $488,000. The federal grant will be partially matched at the local level resulting in almost $612,000 in additional funds over a two-year period. Bernalillo County was one of just 11 jurisdictions from around the country selected for this highly competitive federal award.

The grant includes technical assistance from national experts in jail re-entry programs to support collaboration and program development. Part of the grant funding will support providing case management services to individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders or co-occurring disorders who currently face numerous and difficult obstacles connecting to needed services when transitioning back to community from jail. Individuals who meet the screening criteria will be eligible to receive assistance from a case manager who will help ensure the client makes successful connections to community-based services that address immediate needs.

Currently upon release, community health workers at the Reentry Resource Center (RRC), which came online this past June, help recently-released individuals with basic needs, employment and education resources, shelter and referrals to community-based treatment, counseling and medical services. This grant will enhance case management activities already occurring by targeting “connecting” services towards those exiting individuals identified at MDC as needing more intensive support during transition to be successful and reduce their chances of returning to jail. The program will feature peer support community health workers with lived experience, which is shown to be an effective best practice. As many as 7,000 individuals exiting the jail a year could be eligible for services based on MDC’s history of those incarcerated who utilize psychiatric services.

“Our Resource Re-entry Center is filling a major gap in the behavioral health system. Now, with this new funding, we’ll be able to build an additional layer of support- from people who have first-hand experience and can empathize with the individuals coming through the RRC,” said County Manager Julie Morgas Baca.

JMHCP grants emphasize cross-agency, cross-system collaborations that span criminal justice and mental health systems with the specific aim of developing evidence-based solutions that reduce the number of individuals with mental illness in county jails. Partners in the program will include many of the core members of the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council which is made up of the District Court, Metropolitan Court, District Attorney, Public Defender, Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, just to name a few. The program will also collaborate closely with UNM Health Sciences and other divisions within UNM.

“Men and women leaving our jail with mental illness or co-occurring disorders face a number of barriers and complications navigating, on their own, the services they need to manage their disease and keep from being arrested again,” said Katrina Hotrum-Lopez, director of BHI for Bernalillo County. “The county is committed to working with these individuals to help them connect to the things they most need following time in jail. Communities that do this effectively save public dollars within health and criminal justice systems and improve public safety.”


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