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September 2016

September 4th-11th is Suicide Prevention Awareness Week with World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day on September 10th
Suicide, it’s a topic that’s unpleasant to think about and difficult to discuss but research shows that talking about it is exactly what’s needed. The Know the Signs campaign is California’s statewide program to help all of us learn how to recognize warning signs of suicide risk, find the words to speak to the people we care about, and reach out to available resources. The campaign’s website offers details on how to take these steps.

September 14th COMIO Full Council Meeting – Join Us and See Below for Speakers and Presentations
COMIO’s next meeting will be on September 14th, at CDCR Headquarters 1515 St Street Sacramento 95811 in room 100 North Building from 10 am – 4 pm. The meeting will feature several speakers sharing evaluation results from local initiatives as well as hearing about innovative strategies to prevent incarceration and recidivism from several counties. See below for a few examples.

    Early Results from the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) and Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Twelve County Study

  • The presentation will be about a collaborative data collection project with the California Board of State and Community Corrections and 12 California counties. The data provides a picture of people moving through county probation and jails in the aftermath of the historic state reforms. Data on the jail portion of the study will be shared and discussion of steps being taking to identify the segment of the population with mental health issues, as well as how the data will potentially help identify effective strategies for reducing recidivism.

  • Ryken Grattet is a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis. Previously, he served as assistant secretary of research in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. His current work focuses on California correctional policy at the state and local levels.

  • California Forward (CAFwd) and the Justice System Change Initiative in Riverside: Over the last two years, California Forward through its Justice System Change Initiative (J-SCI), has been working with Riverside County and the county’s criminal justice and behavioral health partners, to understand how offenders move through the county’s criminal justice system. CAFwd mined data and developed analytics which are captured in its Jail Utilization Study (JUS).  Among other things the JUS study found that mentally ill offenders are booked more often in jail and stay longer than the typical offender, and are mostly booked for reasons other than a new crime. This presentation will focus on the Justice System Change Initiative in Riverside, highlighting the use of data to identify cost effect - evidence based solutions to improve criminal justice outcomes.

  • California Forward (CAFwd), a nonpartisan government reform organization is partnering with selected California counties, to demonstrate the potential to positively impact hundreds of thousands of Californians caught up in the criminal justice system. Scott MacDonald, former Chief Probation Officer of Santa Cruz County, will be providing the presentation.

  • San Diego Probation Department’s Trauma Responsive Unit (TRU): Youth entering detention have a high incidence of trauma, an underlying mechanism that contributes to increased risk-taking, delinquency and future adult criminal behavior. The San Diego Probation Department addressed this common risk factor by creating a 20-bed Trauma Responsive Unit (TRU) in Juvenile Hall to provide evidence-based treatment. Providing proven skills based intervention within an environment that has been modified for maximum therapeutic benefit, delivered by a formally trained multidisciplinary team, and monitored for fidelity is a significant treatment advance for in-custody youth. Behavioral outcomes of this 6-month pilot indicate that TRU nearly eliminated assaults, violent incidents, sexual misconduct and suicidal behavior in comparison to other similarly sized male units.

  • Dr. Geoff Twitchell is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Treatment Director for the San Diego County Probation Department. He is responsible for identifying, implementing and evaluating evidence-based treatments for both justice-involved youth and adult offender populations.  Dr. Twitchell co-chairs the County Offender Treatment Committee and serves as the Clinical Liaison to Juvenile and Adult Superior Courts, community treatment providers, Behavioral Health Services, Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office, and Office of the Public Defender. 

Additional presentations include a County Behavioral Health Criminal Justice Innovation Panel with Sutter-Yuba and Alameda Counties, Findings from CDCR’s 2015 Outcome Evaluation, and a Report from UC Davis regarding the Evidence-Base for Pre-Booking Diversion Strategies with Law Enforcement.

In the News:
Resource: Coordinating Access to Services for Justice-Involved Population
The Center for Health Care strategies recently released a brief which details innovative programs across the country that coordinate access to services for the justice involved population.
“The brief outlines key strategies for supporting care coordination for individuals transitioning from incarceration. It also examines the literature on evidence-based and promising programs for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders for the justice-involved population and the authorities under which states can target these services.” Read the brief here.

Opportunity: Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC)
The Board of State and Community Corrections is seeking members for their Executive Steering Committee on innovative diversion programs. The Governor’s 2016-2017 Budget allocates $15 million to the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. COMIO supports this model as a best practice. Grants will be allocated to three jurisdictions for three-year pilot programs that would divert to social service providers low-level drug offenders and those arrested for prostitution. The ESC would determine funding for the new grant program that will provide intensive treatment and support services to these low-level offenders as an alternative to incarceration. For more information about the ESC, visit the BSCC website here.
  • 2015 Outcome Evaluation Report: In August of 2016, CDCR released their 2015 outcome report examining offenders that were released in Fiscal Year 2010‐11. According to the report, the returntoprison rate for offenders declined for the fifth consecutive year to 44.6%. The report also had positive news for substance abuse treatment among offenders:

For the second year in a row, offenders who received in‐prison substance abuse treatment and completed aftercare (919 offenders), returned to prison at a substantially lower rate (15.3 percent) than the 81,743 offenders who did not receive substance abuse treatment (46.5 percent). Three-year-return‐to‐prison rates show that offenders who receive in‐prison substance abuse treatment and some form of aftercare consistently have lower rates of return than offenders who do not receive substance abuse treatment.”

While these are laudable improvements more need to be done to support similar gains for our mental health population - 60.3% of Enhanced Outpatient Program (EOP) offenders, 58% of offenders assigned to Mental Health Crisis Beds, and 50.8% of Correctional Clinical Case Management System (CCCMS) offenders returned to prison. COMIO is eager to explore solutions with our partners and stakeholders.  The full report can be found here and it will be further discussed during the upcoming September 14th meeting.

  • Community Corrections Partnerships: The BSCC also released their July 2016 report on Community Corrections Partnerships. Some of their findings include that 78% of counties consider evaluation results when funding programs and/or services to the AB 109 population. The report includes profiles on each county, detailing how their AB 109 dollars were allocated. The full report can be found here.


  • SAVE THE DATE: The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) has prioritized a project to develop an action agenda to reduce the number of individuals with mental health needs who become involved with the criminal justice system, and improve outcomes for those in custody and those released into the community. The project is led by a Subcommittee of Commissioners, namely Commissioner and Sheriff Bill Brown (Chair).Please save the dates for the following meetings:

Subcommittee Public Engagement Meeting

o   Wednesday, September 21st from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm at the LA Area Chamber of Commerce located at 350 South Bixel Street, Los Angeles

  We will be exploring current efforts to address the mental health and criminal justice intersection (such as the work of the Judicial Council’s Mental Health Issues Implementation Task Force and the Council of State Governments’ Stepping Up Initiative).

Public Hearing during our September Commission Meeting

o   Thursday, September 22nd beginning at 9:00 am at the California African American Museum located at 600 State Drive, Los Angeles

  We will be hearing testimony from individuals with lived experience, advocates, and county and state officials.

  • Materials from the August committee meetings have been posted on COMIO’s website -

  • There will be no committee meetings in October the next full COMIO meeting is November 2nd from 10am to 1pm in the State Capitol.


  1. You guys are doing a great job! Keep up the good work.


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