Criminal Justice Plans To Move Forward With Mental Health Court Issue Date: April 26, 2018
At the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee meeting on Friday, April 20, the committee was told Judge James Morrison wants to move forward with the Mental Health Court with plans to have the court operating in June.
They are moving forward as a result of action taken by Marinette County Board on Tuesday, April 17 with elevating part-time crisis worker Tiffany Raven to full-time status. Raven will be the case worker for the Mental Health Court.
Jail Administrator Bob Majewski, chairperson of the committee who pushed for the mental health court to be established said "We finally got it through and all the funding is in place". There is still a lot to do, so the Mental Health Court "stake holders" will meet on May 1 to do more planning.
Majewski also thanked County Administrator John Lefebvre for helping to get this approved. He said "I think it's important and I think it will be good for all of us. We're ready to go."
Health and Human Services Director, Robin Elsner wants to see part of the planning to include visits to Brown and Outagamie Counties, which are only two of about five counties in the state that have this program.
Elsner said, "I think we want to duplicate what's already working and I am sure they are willing to share policies and procedures with us".
They anticipate participants in the Mental Health Court will be referred through the jail, by attorneys and as well as the district attorneys office to be involved with referrals as they do with the Drug Court.
District Attorney DeShea Morrow who is a member of the committee, said "Yes, we certainly will be involved, especially if it's one of our current cases. If possible, we want to be proactive and divert people before they get formally charged".
Elsner responded to Morrow, saying, We want to identify the people that are already in jail and then work with you because there's already charges and we can then start treatment while the are in jail. "Get them identified, diagnosed and start treatment," he said.
Sheriff Jerry Sauve, also a member of the committee said, "I want to commend Bob for all his hard work, certainly his tireless efforts have a lot to do with this."
Sauve also thanked Morrison and Health and Human Services Director Robin Elsner for their efforts to get the mental health court established.
Also discussed was the success of the Drug Treatment Program. At this point the program has had 17 or 18 participants with 11 or 12 graduates that have not committed any new crimes since graduating from the program.
The success of this program is attributed to the requirement of the participants to be employed 40 hours per week and have insurance. They are working, paying their bills and contributing to the community.
Morrow stressed that the work requirement helps ensure participants are successful after they graduate, now having work skills they may have not had before.
Another successful component of the program is its alumni program for graduates. They connect and support each other in a positive way.
Majewski in his jail population report stated programs such as the Drug Court, Sober Link and now the Mental Health Court are keeping the jail inmate numbers down by being proactive instead of reactive.
Majewski also reported to the committee on efforts to find a solution to the shortage of detention facilities for juveniles.
There have been two meetings in Green Bay with officials from all counties in Northeastern Wisconsin to discuss the shortage issues.
"We are basically waiting for Brown County to build onto their adult facility to facilitate juveniles instead of having to go to Sheboygan", Majewski said.
Recently there was a juvenile that they couldn't find a bed for. This leaves them with decisions and discussions of what is the best plan for Marinette County along with the whole region.
If Sheboygan and Fond du Lac are full, the closest detention facility for juveniles is then in Portage County.
Elsner said, "I think eventually Brown County will get back to having like 50 beds to eliminate the overcrowding issues, but it's going to be about two years out". "We need to continue to work on our local Crossroads Group Program".
Majewski brought up his idea that somewhere in a central location, a facility with dual roles should be built to facilitate both long term and short term juveniles, with a separation of the two types of offenders.
Majewski said, "We want to rehabilitate these individuals so they don't become inmates in the prison system". He will continue to talk to the people he needs to talk to, ask the questions that need to be asked and push to make this type of facility a reality.
"Somebody's going to be building and doing something," Elsner said.
Sauve commented "In the meantime we will be burning up the highway", meaning transporting juveniles to Sheboygan.
Joseph Moser, Inmate Education and Programs Sergeant of Marinette Count Sheriff's Office, presented his jail program notes to the committee.
Four inmates are currently enrolled in the General Education Diplomas (GED) program with year to date that have passed the GED test. Year to date there have been 4 diplomas completed within the jail. Since the beginning of the program there have been 191 completed GED's.
There are currently two high school age students incarcerated with one receiving education services from Marinette High School and the other is still being processed to determine the education needs and services.
The second session of Triple P Parenting (Positive Parenting Program) was held on April 18, which aims to build positive behaviors in children, confidence in parents' abilities and community support for raising children. Ten male individuals received completion certificates. In March a female session was completed with eight participants receiving certificates of completion.
A cognitive thinking program is currently in session with eight participants and a male group of five individuals was completed on April 4 with each receiving completion certificates. A male cognitive thinking session was also completed with 12 male participants.
A female anger management program is currently in session with eight participants. A male group was completed on April 4 with 5 individuals receiving certificates of completion.
On Feb. 22, the male session of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) was completed with seven individuals receiving certificates of completion, along with seven females receiving completion certificates in the March 13 session.
Six females completed the Inaugural Emotional Wellness Program that helps to develop social and emotional skills. This program received outstanding reviews and has been endorsed by a vast majority of experts in the mental health field.
The Resume Building Workshops have been running two times a week with individuals working with Job Center Resource Room Manager, Lori Atkinson on creating and updating resumes to apply to local employers in the area. Three individuals that were incarcerated were hired this year as a direct result of the program with several others scheduling interviews with employers post-release.
Moser attended the Correction Education Association Leadership conference March 18-20. The conference consists of educators and vocational instructors from around the country that work primarily in corrections and those post-release. Ideas were shared along with contacts to use.
Moser ended with announcing that Marinette County Sheriff's Office will be hosting a training seminar in May for the program volunteers and other non-uniform staff. Security for non-secure individuals will be facilitated by Theilen Consults.
The next meeting of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee will be held Friday, July 20.
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