Impact of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse on the Justice System
$600 million annually to house people with mental illnesses in Florida’s prisons and forensic treatment facilities.
Another $500 million to house people with mental illnesses in county jails.
$12.6 million in accumulated arrests, jail days, community psychiatric hospital days and state hospital days for just 97 high utilizers in Miami-Dade County over a five-year period.
66,000 Florida prison inmates and 90,000 probationers have a drug problem but less than 1% of the Department of Corrections budget is spent on drug treatment. According to the Department, 82% leave prison without receiving substance abuse treatment.
63% of the more than 75,000 youth in Florida’s juvenile justice system have been diagnosed with mental illness or have demonstrated behaviors that suggest mental illness. Another 65% are diagnosed with or have behaviors suggesting a substance use disorder.
Treatment Improves Public Safety, Supports Recovery, Saves Tax Dollars
Examples of successful community diversion programs can be found throughout Florida:
✔ Pinellas County’s jail diversion program had an 87% reduction in re-arrest rates for nearly 3,000 offenders enrolled in the mental health jail diversion program. Prior to entering the program, clients chalked up 12,985 arrests. After completion, their arrests dropped to 1,677.
✔ Osceola County’s jail diversion program has reduced recidivism from 80% to 12% through treatment, case management and social rehabilitation services.
✔ Miami-Dade County’s Felony Jail Diversion program has resulted in 8,300 fewer jail days; $1.1 million in cost avoidance for the jail and a 41% reduction in admissions to state forensic treatment facilities.
✔ Orange County’s mental health diversion program has saved $2.2 million - the equivalent of 45 law enforcement positions - over seven years as a result of reducing or eliminating the time law officers must spend with each person at an emergency room.