The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) and the Illinois Health & Hospital Association will host a conference today on innovations that local governments and states are using to address the costly and harmful over-reliance on incarceration for people who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse disorders.
The event will be held from 9:30 to 4:30 at the Carle Foundation Hospital Pollard Auditorium, The Forum at Carle, 611 West Park Street, in Urbana.
Data-Driven Health & Justice is a nationwide effort to reduce the financial and human costs associated with incarcerating people in local jails who have complex needs but do not pose a risk to public safety.
Using cross-system data, improved technology, and collaborative strategies, state and local decision makers can achieve better outcomes and save taxpayer dollars, particularly by focusing on a special population of “superutilizers” of emergency departments and jails. Superutilizers typically cycle in and out of health and criminal justice systems without a long-term coordinated care plan.
The initiative is designed to help counties identify and predict these superutilizers before they are caught in the revolving door of the justice system.
“Jailing those with serious mental illness and other chronic medical problems is costly and ineffective, “said ICJIA Executive Director John Maki. “By identifying these individuals when or even before they enter the criminal justice system, we can treat them rather than letting them sink deeper into the system.”
Champaign, Cook, Lake, and McLean counties also have partnered in the initiative. The event is open to participating local sites and other stakeholders, including sheriffs, local hospital administrators and staff, police chiefs, community-based organizations, and county administrators.
States, counties, and cities across the country have begun implementing protocols and programs to divert people away from the justice system and into more appropriate care, such as crisis stabilization and outpatient treatment for mental illness.
Participation in the Data-Driven Health & Justice Initiative is consistent with bold efforts under way in Illinois to reform its health and justice systems. In 2015, Governor Bruce Rauner began a Health and Human Services Transformation process that includes applying for an 1115 Medicaid waiver, a contract between federal and state governments that “waives” federal Medicaid requirements and gives the federal government authority to approve experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects. The waiver allows state governments to use federal dollars differently to increase the efficiency and quality of care for Medicaid populations.
The Governor also created the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, an initiative to reduce Illinois’ incarcerated population by 25 percent by 2025.
ICJIA is dedicated to improving the administration of criminal justice through work in the areas of grants administration, research and analysis, policy and planning, and information systems and technology. Visit www.icjia.state.il.us.