Stepping-Up Initiative Programs




Ratcliff-Saldana, Dawn

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


All county jails need to initiate the Stepping-Up Initiative Program for non-violent misdemeanor offenders. These programs provide centers that are court ordered or the officer would be able to transport a non-violent offender who has committed a misdemeanor offense to this facility instead of the jail. There are approximately two million people who are processed in the local or county jail intake unit each year and those suffering from mental illness are three times more likely to be arrested (Osher, 2017). The mental illness crisis has created a detrimental problem to law enforcement, local jails, county jails, prisons, the communities, the family members of those suffering from a mental illness, and the citizens themselves who are suffering from mental illness. The current mental illness crisis in the United States has caused lawmakers to enact laws that require law enforcement to address the issue and do something about it. Texas State Bill 1849, Sandra Bland Act, is reinforcing that law enforcement must recognize the signs of those suffering from mental illness and mandates that county jails must transfer these individuals to a mental illness treatment program or provide mental illness treatment inside the facility (Silver, 2017). The Stepping-Up Initiative program ensures counties provide temporary in-patient and outpatient treatment centers for those suffering from mental illness. It costs two to three times more to house an inmate with mental illness than the rest of the population. Counties can address the funding issue by looking at state and federal grants to assist with the funding source or they can calculate the daily cost of housing inmates with mental illness and compare the savings cost if they were released from the jail and receiving court ordered outpatient treatment.



Mental health courts, Police services for the mentally ill