WENATCHEE - Catholic Charities Serving Central Washington has been awarded funding from the State of Washington for jail diversion mental health services. The Catholic Charities Diversion Team provides active outreach services to Chelan-Douglas law enforcement agencies and area jails in contact with individuals in need of support or services. The goal is to prevent incarceration, by providing access to mental health care, which includes crisis follow-up and crisis response, post-booking diversion, and support transitioning out of the jail. The funding will allow for the addition of four mental health professionals/case manager positions and a project lead, as well as funding for housing and other support to encourage wellness, recovery, and community stabilization.
Funding for this time-limited grant was provided by a settlement with DSHS. The goal of the settlement is to reduce the number of individuals with mental illness that are currently incarcerated pending a forensic evaluation at Eastern or Western State Hospital.
Catholic Charities will implement Phase II of the Trueblood Jail Diversion decision. The grant is proposed for an initial 18-month funding period, with an option for renewal based on performance. Phase II proposes to reduce the number of individuals referred for evaluations by rapidly delivering mental health and social services after the individual is incarcerated and prior to the individual’s release. It is intended to apply to persons with mental illness in cases of non-serious, non-violent offenses. Mental health staff will evaluate the individual in jail and conduct an assessment of the risks associated with release: if the individual meets eligibility criteria and is willing to participate, a release plan will be developed and offered to the court as an alternative to incarceration and criminal competency evaluation. A court team consisting of jail and mental health staff, prosecutor, defense attorney, and a judge are involved in weighing risks and benefits of the plan. Diversion staff also provide support to individual’s whose lack of access to human services places them at risk of re-incarceration at the time of release from jail.