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Mental Health Diversion Council

Background: In February of 2013, Governor Richard Snyder elevated the Diversion Strategies Workgroup by forming the Mental Health Diversion Council through Executive Order 2013-7. The Council, chaired at that time by Lt. Governor Brian Calley, is charged with "…reducing the number of people with mental illness or intellectual or developmental disabilities (including comorbid substance addiction) from entering the corrections system, while maintaining public safety." The Mental Health Diversion Council officially adopted the action plan created by the original workgroup, which outlines specific goals, strategies and recommendations to improve diversion of those with mental illness and developmental disabilities and acts as a living document addressing diversion issues in real time. 

Expansion: On March 20, 2014, Governor Snyder signed Executive Order 2014-7.  that expanded the Mental Health Diversion Council by four seats to include those that had expertise in Juvenile Justice.  This action brought the total number of members up to 18 participants and helped to shape juvenile justice initiatives through their own Juvenile Justice action plan

Currently: The work of the Mental Health Diverson Council continues on with the administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer who has backed its goals and objectives and strives to support its initiatives through the Sequential Intercept Model, the national Stepping Up Model, and data gathering/evaluation through Wayne State University.  There has also been an expansion in pilot initiatives with the Juvenile Justice population in an effort to curb justice involvement prior to it reaching chronic levels in adulthood.  The Mental Health Diversion Council continues to act as a resouce to the Executive Office for policy recommendations and legislative action as well as implementing new and inovative initiatives that adhere to their mission.


Current Members:

Milton L. Mack, Wayne (Chair)
Represents the State Court Administrative Office
Term expires 1/30/24

Meghan Groen
Lt. Governor's Designee

Debra Pinals, Ann Arbor
Designee of the Department of Health and Human Services

Marti Kay Sherry, Brighton
Represents the Department of Corrections

Christopher Becker, Ada
Represents prosecutors
Term expires 1/30/25

George Strander, Albion
Represents court administrators
Term expires 1/30/25
Frank Kevin Fischer, Plymouth?
Represents advocates of consumer representatives
Term expires 1/30/25
James Blocker, Delton
Represents local law enforcement
Term expires 1/30/25
James Samuals, Mecosta?
Represents licensed attorneys
Term expires 1/30/25
Algeria Wilson, East Lansing
Represents advocates of consumer representatives on juvenile justice issues
Term expires 1/30/25

Soleil Campbell, Okemos
Designee of the Department of Health and Human Services
Term expires 1/30/22

Ronald Derrer, Grand Rapids
Represent juvenile mental health treatment practitioners
Term expires 1/30/22

Steve Kempker, Zeeland
Represents County Sheriffs
Term expires 1/30/23

Jessica Taylor, Detroit
Represents Community prisoner or Jail Re-Entry
Term expires 1/30/24
Eric Doeh, Belleville
Represents Medicaid pre-paid inpatient health plan
Term expires 1/30/24
Bradley Casemore, Battle Creek
Represents adult service agencies and/or providers from a local community mental health service programs
Term expires 1/30/24

Sara Spencer-Noggle, Mount Pleasant
Represents the judiciary
Term expires 1/30/24

John Searles, Wheeler
Represent school systems
Term Expires 1/30/22

Meeting time for the Mental Health Diversion Council is the second Tuesday of every month from 10:00-11:30 in the first floor of the Romney Building (111 S. Capital Ave, Lansing, MI 48933) *At this time COVID restrictions prohibit this meeting in person but this body continues to convene over a virtual platform*

Steven M. Mays
Diversion Administrator
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Mental Health Diversion Council Liaison
320 S. Walnut Lansing, MI 48913
Phone: 517-241-3302



Pilots: The Diversion Council recently funded (up until the end of FY20) various pilots to initiate innovative ways to divert people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities from incarceration. The goal of the pilots was to gather data in an attempt to replicate preferred practices throughout the state.  Those pilots included the following:

·   Barry - CIT, Juvenile Diversion, Screening Tool

·   Berrien - CIT, Jail Clinicians, Intensive Follow Thru

·   Detroit Central City - Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (F.A.C.T.),
    Longer Term Housing

·   Detroit SW Community Court - Community-Based Sentencing

·   Kalamazoo - CIT, CIT-Y, Longer Term Housing, Data Warehousing

·   Kent - Full-Time Jail Clinicians and Intensive Follow Up, Diversion Center

·   Livingston - CIT, In-Jail Staff Clinicians, Pre-Release Assessments

·   Marquette - CIT, Crisis Beds, Jail Liaison, Moral Reconation Therapy, Diversion Unit

·   Monroe - Jail Staff-Peer Supports, Mental Health Court

·   Oakland - CIT, CIT-Y, In-Jail Staff, Boundary Spanner

·   St. Joseph - CIT, Diversion Center, Boundary Spanner

Progress EvaluationThe Diversion Council had partnered with Michigan State University's Data and Evaluation Team in 2015 and later (2018) Wayne State University to collect data on the Council's pilot initiatives. The Baseline Data Report covers eight current pilot initiatives and provides baseline data and information to the Diversion Council as well as those pilot communities to facilitate planning for future diversion activities.  The report focuses on three main areas:

·   Prevalence of serious mental illness in jails

·   Recidivism among individuals with serious mental illness

·   Crisis Intervention Team training

·   All up to date data/evaluation findings from Wayne State University can  be found here:
    Wayne State University

Progress can be found in Mental Health Diversion Council Progress Report issued on Jan. 22, 2018.