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Lt. Gov. Calley: Michigan achieving positive outcomes diverting individuals with mental health issues from incarceration

Michigan’s jail diversion pilot programs showing success

Monday, Jan. 22, 2018

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s jail diversion pilot programs are proving successful at connecting individuals with mental health issues with treatment instead of incarceration, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced today.

The pilots, run in partnership with the Mental Health Diversion Council, are currently operating in Barry, Berrien, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Marquette, Monroe, Oakland, St. Joseph, and Wayne counties. The programs aim to prevent individuals with mental health issues who interact with the criminal justice system from being incarcerated and instead direct them to services they need. 

“The work of the Diversion Council and the jail diversion pilots is helping improve collaboration between law enforcement and mental health providers to connect people with the help they need instead of being incarcerated,” said Calley, chair of the Mental Health Diversion Council. “The success of the pilots means success for Michiganders and we are certainly heading toward positive outcomes that don’t involve our criminal justice system.”

Michigan State University’s Data and Evaluation Team has been evaluating the progress of the jail diversion pilots through a series of studies that began in 2015. A baseline evaluation was done in 2015, with continued evaluation occurring through 2017. Of the pilots evaluated, recent data shows successful outcomes over the last two years, including:

  • A four percent reduction in the percentage of those with mental health issues entering Michigan jails (24 percent in 2015 and 20 percent in 2017).
  • A total of 665 law enforcement officers have received training since 2015 on crisis intervention techniques; 147 of these officers also received additional training for youth specific intervention (an increase of 379 officers trained since 2015).
  • Transports to the crisis centers increased 22 percent following law enforcement receiving crisis trainings; this increase was sustained for 20 months.
  • Providing nearly 6,000 service encounters to more than 3,500 individuals through 2017, up from 1,267 individuals in the first program year (2015/2016).  

“In the year after the pilot interventions were implemented, we saw more people engaged in mental health services in the community after jail release in seven counties compared to the year before the interventions. Moreover, in five counties we saw reductions in the return of individuals to jail,” said Dr. Sheryl Kubiak, lead of Michigan State University’s Data Evaluation Team which collects and analyzes data on the pilots.  “This is really exciting and a testament to the collaborative spirit that we have witnessed within these counties”

The jail diversion pilot evaluations were released as part of the Diversion Council’s 2018 Progress Report to the Michigan Legislature.  The Diversion Council will continue working with counties to strengthen diversion methods to help Michiganders. The long-term goal continues to be expanding diversion programs to all counties in Michigan.