For Immediate ReleaseJanuary 18, 2022
Meaningful results borne from collaborative effort
San Rafael, CA – Marin County’s program to reduce the number of people with behavioral health disorders in its jail has garnered a prestigious award from the California State Association of Counties (CSAC).
The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earned a CSAC Challenge Award for its work enhancing behavioral health at Marin County Jail and the local justice system. It was viewed as innovative because of its collaborations with several County departments, community-based organizations, and individual stakeholders.
The recognition, announced January 3, comes just a few months after the County’s Stepping Up Initiative earned it national honors as one of the few Stepping Up Innovator Counties in the United States.
With an endorsement of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, the County joined Stepping Up in 2017 and has taken the following significant steps toward reducing the number of people in its jail who have behavioral health disorders:
“We have always been committed to finding better ways to provide treatment and support for people who have mental and/or substance use issues and who are involved in the justice system,” said Dr. Jei Africa, Director of HHS’ Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. “It’s enough of a reward for us to know that the services have a positive impact on the clients, but it’s wonderful to receive such an award from CSAC, too. It’s satisfying to know that our approach can be replicated elsewhere so others receive behavioral health services rather than going to jail as a result of their condition.”
Marin uses the Stepping Up-suggested three-step approach to collect and analyze timely data on the prevalence of people in their jails who have serious mental illnesses (SMI). The steps include establishing a shared SMI definition across criminal justice and behavioral health systems, ensuring everyone booked into jail is screened for mental illnesses, and regular reporting on that segment of the population.
“The Sheriff’s Office understands the importance of providing resources and rehabilitation to some of our most vulnerable populations,” said Undersheriff Jamie Scardina. “Our partnership with Health and Human Services has been instrumental in identifying those who can benefit from these services early on.”
As an Innovator County, Marin is helping other counties improve their data collection efforts by participating in training sessions and sharing its experiences through the Stepping Up website.
Learn more about Marin’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services at www.marinBHRS.org.
Dr. Jei AfricaDirector of Behavioral Health and Recovery ServicesDepartment of Health and Human Services
20 North San Pedro RoadSan Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7595CRS Dial 711Email: Dr. Jei AfricaMarin HHS webpage