The U.S. Justice Department, Bureau of Justice Assistance, has awarded the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office $532,360 to support a collaborative approach to improve responses and outcomes for adults with mental illness, substance abuse and related disorders who enter the criminal justice system. This was a highly competitive national grant program; the FCSO was one of only three sheriff’s offices that were selected from across the country.
Collectively, Flagler County trends and statistics reflect a significant mental health challenge for the sheriff’s office and local treatment providers driven by the high level of mental illness and substance abuse disorders in the community and the interconnectedness of opioid abuse and suicide. The grant will allow effective training, timely screening for mental illness and substance abuse, evidence-based treatment and case management for individuals involved in the criminal justice system.
The Flagler County JMH Project will involve a multi-faceted effort to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment resources to county jail inmates by embedding a certified mental health/substance abuse clinician within the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility and partnering with a local service provider to insure continuum of care after the inmate is released from the jail. The overall goal of the grant is to reduce criminal justice involvement by offenders and reduce suicides caused by mental illness and addiction.
“It’s clear that Flagler County has an urgent need to prevent, reduce, and treat those with mental health and substance abuse problems," Sheriff Rick Staly said. "Left untreated, the end results can become suicide, arrests for criminal acts and jail time."
FCSO applied for this federal grant in early 2020 before the call for police reforms which often highlight and focus on police response to crisis and addiction intervention.