Dashboard shows mental health needs at Johnson County Jail

Dashboard shows mental health needs at Johnson County Jail

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. – Johnson County has launched a new tool to examine the effectiveness of providing mental health services to incarcerated people.

the Johnson County Brief Jail Mental Health Screen (BJMHS) Dashboard collects aggregate data from the Johnson County Mental Health Center and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

The dashboard shows the percentage of people incarcerated in the county jail with a positive mental health screen. The dataset compares the number of people incarcerated in the prison with signs of mental illness (those with a positive screen) versus those without signs of mental illness (those with a negative screen).

The aim is to provide support to people within the prison system who suffer from mental illness.

If a person has a positive mental health check, the the county mental health center will work with law enforcement examine alternatives to incarceration. Alternative options are considered on a case-by-case basis, but may include things such as diversion programs, specialized or problem-solving courts, or mental health probation cases.

“It’s such a benefit to the community because when people are brought in they have immediate access to services as soon as they’re booked and hopefully that means we release them better, not bitter,” said Sheriff Calvin Hayden. “Mental health is currently at crisis levels, so the more access and information we can provide to anyone, the greater the benefit to the whole community.”

The dashboard also shows the average length of incarceration for someone with signs of mental illness and the percentage of people with positive mental health tests who have been linked to care.

According to the dashboard, last year around 29% of those incarcerated in the prison tested positive for mental health needs.

The goal is for Johnson County to reduce that number of bookings by about 5% each year until people with mental illness are no more likely to be imprisoned than the general population.

Chart of 2021 bookings with positive mental health tests. Image of the BJMHS dashboard.

The new dashboard is part of the national Stepping Up initiative, a program formed through a collaboration between the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, the National Association of Counties, and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation.

“CSG Justice Center is thrilled to see the great work being done in Johnson County, one of our original Stepping Up sites and one of our first named Innovator sites,” said CSG’s Ayesha Delaney-Brumsey. Justice Center.

“This dashboard will allow Johnson County residents to track progress in reducing the number of people with serious mental illnesses in your justice system and efforts to improve responses to this population.”

Johnson County is one of seven original counties nationwide selected as a Stepped Up Innovator County for its expertise in helping people in the criminal justice system who suffer from mental illness.

“We have seen the value of the Stepping Up initiative and are pleased to be one of the first counties in the country to share this important data with our community,” said JCMHC Director Tim DeWeese. “This information is critical to our ongoing efforts to reduce the incarceration rate for people with mental illness in our county.”