Tri-Town Police Departments Launch Co-Response Jail Diversion Program
The Norfolk, Plainville and Wrentham Police Departments have partnered with Advocates to launch a Co-Response Jail Diversion Program which will connect those with mental health or substance use conditions to needed services.
The Co-Response Jail Diversion Program (JDP), operated by Advocates in partnership with the police departments, aims to re-direct individuals committing non-violent offenses from the criminal justice system to more appropriate community-based behavioral health services. The program is funded through a grant from the Department of Mental Health.
As part of this program, the JDP pairs specially trained crisis clinicians from Advocates with police officers at the Norfolk, Plainville and Wrentham Police Departments. Co-Response clinicians will provide residents facing mental health crises and trauma with an immediate, on-scene support system and follow-up resources.
“While responding to calls for service it’s very common for our officers to come into contact with individuals experiencing mental health crises or substance use disorders in desperate need of behavioral health services,” Norfolk Police Chief Charles Stone said. “With the assistance of crisis clinicians, our departments can work to ensure that these individuals get the proper assistance and help they need instead of being directed to the criminal justice system. Through our partnership with Advocates, we look forward to our JDP serving as another way to assist our community members with accessing the valuable resources at our disposal.”
The clinician will follow up on cases, referring those in need to treatment providers and services as needed. Department personnel can also make a referral to the JDP clinician to follow up on a case or situation that they deem necessary.
The JDP clinician for the towns of Norfolk, Plainville and Wrentham is scheduled to be in each town one to two times per week but is available to all communities five days a week, if needed. When a JDP clinician is not on duty, the Advocates Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) team supports the JDP clinician to ensure timely access to services for the participating police agencies 24/7.
Currently, the departments utilize one Jail Diversion program supervisory clinician, Sheena Mahoney, who alternates between the communities throughout the week. Mahoney will be in this position until a permanent clinician has been hired.
“We’re excited to have this program officially up and running for our community members and we greatly look forward to welcoming a permanent clinician in the near future,” Plainville Police Chief James Floyd said. “With the addition of a permanent clinician, they will be able to embed themselves within our communities which will allow them to develop strong relationships with those they serve thus helping to improve dialogue and bridge gaps between those experiencing crises and the resources that exist to help them.”
Advocates is actively recruiting for a permanent clinician to serve the Norfolk-Plainville-Wrentham communities. In this role, the clinician will provide psychiatric and substance abuse evaluations to individuals and families in crisis in police custody, community, clinic and hospital settings.
“Wrentham Police officers frequently respond to and de-escalate dangerous, volatile calls involving people with mental health, substance use and other conditions. Once a scene is successfully de-escalated and deemed safe by police officers, trained clinicians can then be allowed to enter and offer their invaluable services. Without clinicians, police are on their own to facilitate follow-up assistance for people in need and, too often, the connection is never made,” Wrentham Police Chief William McGrath said. “With clinicians, the connection with those in need can be almost immediate, and equally important, including future follow-up as needed. Another benefit of integrating police officers with trained clinicians is the sharing of knowledge. Clinicians can provide valuable advice for police officers who are tasked with de-escalating and securing difficult situations. On the flip side, officers can provide clinicians with essential information related to people and families in need of their services. The Wrentham P.D. is eager to get up and running with this program. Without a doubt, trained clinicians will have a tremendous impact on the Wrentham community!”
Advocates provides a broad range of services for people facing life challenges such as addiction, aging, autism, brain injury, intellectual/developmental disabilities and mental health challenges. With Advocates’ help, thousands of individuals and families living in Massachusetts are finding the supports they need to lead healthy, productive, and rewarding lives. For more information about Advocates, visit www.Advocates.org.
Learn more about Advocates Jail Diversion Program at www.jaildiversion.org.