EL CENTRO – Imperial County Board of Supervisors supported the efforts of the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO) participation in the national Stepping Up Initiative through the adoption of a resolution that establishes a plan to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails. The County of Imperial has joined fourteen other California counties who have adopted a resolution in support of the Stepping Up Initiative.
“Now that the Resolution has been adopted the real work begins,” stated Sheriff Raymond Loera. “The sub-committee will now analyze the prevalence tests and numbers, look at gaps and deficiencies in services or access to services and start to formulate plans on how to best address those. It speaks volumes that the Board has adopted this Resolution and supports the community and all of our partner agencies in ensuring Imperial County is actively keeping the community safe while trying to reduce the number of mentally ill in our jails.”
ICSO submitted a request to the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) to be one of the counties to adopt Stepping Up. Through the support of CCP, a sub-committee was formed to look at the Stepping Up Initiative with the Sheriff’s Office assigned as a Co-Chair. The sub-committee has been working for approximately 8 months in preparation of the Resolution being adopted.
The sub-committee’s steady partners have been ICSO, Clinicas De Salud Del Pueblo, Inc., Imperial County Probation Department, Imperial County Public Defender’s Office, Imperial County Superior Court, American Civil Liberties Union, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Imperial County Behavioral Health Services, and BI/GEO Group.
Prevalence rates of serious mental illnesses in jails are three to six times higher than for the general public. By participating in the Stepping Up Initiative, with the help of the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Association of Counties, the sub-committee will be able to create a plan tailored to Imperial County’s needs to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in our jail.