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Douglas County is working collaboratively to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails
Douglasville, Georgia (May 30, 2018) - Douglas County participated in the national Stepping Up Day of Action to highlight its progress toward reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in the county jail and improving outcomes for the county's most vulnerable residents.
Members of the Douglas County community participated in a peer exchange to discuss efforts to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails. Participants included Douglas County Chairman, Dr. Romona Jackson Jones; Douglas County Superior Court Judge, Cynthia Adams; Douglas County Public Defender, Monica Myles; local Psychologist, Dr. Felicia Mitchell-Berry; and Georgia Department of Community Supervision Community Coordinator, Carol Chateau. Colonel Doug Oliver, Sergeant Jessie Hambrick, and Community Outreach Coordinator, Lisa Williams of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department were amongst the many law enforcement officials who also participated in the peer exchange.
The county's efforts began when the Douglas County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to join Stepping Up.
"Douglas County is proud of the progress we have been making toward implementing innovative solutions to assist people with mental illnesses in our jails," said Tiffany Stewart-Stanley, Director of External Affairs. "Participating in Stepping Up has allowed us to create a platform for county leaders to talk about the issues of mental illness in jails with a collective voice and continue to search for solutions to assist some of our community's most vulnerable citizens."
Stepping Up, a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jail is led by the National Association of Counties, the American Psychiatric Association Foundation and The Council of State Governments Justice Center. Stepping Up provides counties with a framework and tools for creating a collaborative, system-wide plan to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in the county jail in ways that not only improve public safety but promote positive outcomes for individuals with mental illnesses, their families, and their communities.
More than 415 counties across the country have passed a resolution or proclamation to join Stepping Up.
"Douglas County joined Stepping Up to show its commitment to working collaboratively across systems to change the way law enforcement and other county agencies respond to people experiencing mental health crises," said Dr. Romona Jackson Jones, Douglas County Commission Chairman.
Today, Douglas County joins its peers from across the country who are participating in the national Stepping Up Day of Action to share progress in the county and raise public awareness of the issues facing individuals with mental illnesses, particularly those who are involved in or at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system.
More information on the national Stepping Up initiative is available at StepUpTogether.org.
For More information, contact Tiffany Stewart-Stanley, Director of External Affairs for Douglas County.