Jail Diversion

Purpose and Background

Diverts individuals with serious mental illness (and often co-occurring substance use disorders) away from jail and provides linkages to community-based treatment and support services.

The term "jail diversion" refers to programs that divert individuals with serious mental illness (and often co-occurring substance use disorders) away from jail and provide linkages to community-based treatment and support services. The individual thus avoids arrest or spends a significantly reduced time period in jail and/or lockups on the current charge or on violations of probation resulting from previous charges.

Key jail diversion program activities include (Steadman, et al, 1995; Steadman, et al, 2001):

  • Defining a target group for diversion,
  • Identifying individuals as early as possible in their processing by the justice system,
  • Negotiating community-based treatment alternatives to incarceration, and
  • Implementing linkages to comprehensive systems of care and appropriate community supervision consistent with the disposition of the criminal justice contact.

In Newaygo County, roughly 25% of the inmates who are incarcerated at any given time have a diagnosis of mental illness. Most of those inmates receive mental health screening, but not all require continued services. A recent snapshot is that 62 of the 250 - 270 inmates in the Newaygo County Jail had Mental Health contact.

Between January and May 2013, eight county and one federal inmate were diverted from the jail. Each day a county inmate is not incarcerated saves an average of $30 from the county’s expenses. The jail currently has between 80-100 county and 150-180 federal inmates (federal inmates bring roughly $60 daily per inmate into the county).

Participating Agencies and Organizations

27th Circuit Court  Newaygo Co. Prosecuting Attorney 
Arbor Circle Newaygo Co. Sheriff’s Office
CMH (NC Mental Health)         
Newaygo Co. Jail  

Lead Agency

CMH (Newaygo Co Mental Health)

Coordinator (Interim)

Cindy Ingersoll
Administrator of Adult Services
CMH
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Meetings

The Jail Diversion Affiliate meets quarterly on the first Wednesday of March, June, September, and December at 12:00 p.m. at the Newaygo County Sheriff's offices.

Upcoming

The Newaygo County Jail Diversion Task force is currently on hiatus, due to staffing changes and loss of state funding to provide mental health services to inmates.