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Cuyahoga County Diversion Center Will Help Keep Those with Mental Health and Addiction Issues Out of Jail System

11/20/2020


Transforming the Justice System in Cuyahoga County

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH
- Cuyahoga County is submitting to County Council on Tuesday a request for funds not to exceed $9.2 million to enter into contract with the ADAMHS Board to operate a Diversion Center in Cuyahoga County, transforming the justice system.

This Diversion Center would be the first-of-its-kind in Ohio to work in conjunction with the justice system to allow those committing low-level offenses to receive the help, care and resources they need in a medical environment rather than within the County jail.

The Diversion Center will be located at the Oriana House, located at 1829 E 55th St. in Cleveland. The facility is currently vacant but will be updated for a first quarter 2021 opening.

The Diversion Center will offer:
  • Short term, temporary housing for approximately 50 individuals daily
  • day treatment
  • case management
  • behavioral health and substance abuse counseling and support services
  • County-provided services for enrollment in benefit programs such as Social Security Disability and Medicaid
  • County-provided employment/vocational training services to facilitate entry or re-entry into the workforce system
  • Coordination of patient needs after their on-site care and space for linking patients to other service needs such as Medicaid assistance

Oriana House will run the day-to-day operations of the center, including on-site counseling and nurses services. The Cuyahoga County ADAMHS Board will assist with the mental health and addiction planning and oversight of the facility and its operations.

“Despite the efforts of the medical, behavioral health, and criminal justice systems, many of our County’s mentally ill continue to end up in the County’s jail system, then back out into residential and community-based facilities or the streets and, often, back into our jails,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “Jails across the country, not just in Cuyahoga County, are the largest repository of people with mental health and addiction challenges. These are people who most often are low-level, non-violent offenders who should be in treatment and not incarcerated.

“The Diversion Center is a great way to foster communication between our officers and mental health professionals to achieve a common goal: keep our communities safe, our residents healthy, and low-level offenders out of the jail system,”
said Budish. “I am grateful for the abundance of partners who are helping to make this effort possible and change the justice system in Cuyahoga County as we know it.”

The Diversion Center would ensure those who need treatment receive it and would help lower the inmate population safely by working with law enforcement and the justice system to redirect individuals better off in the care and environment of community health professionals where they can best treat the mental health and/or addiction issue.

Local law enforcement will complete Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), which will give officers the tools needed to identify someone with mental health and/or substance abuse issues and provide them with communication tools to appropriately handle the situation.

Officers will also be able to call a 24-hour hotline staffed by Frontline Services to help make the determination if an individual is a good candidate for the Diversion Center.

The entire project is expected to cost around $20 million, and the County is working to identify private, local and state funding sources to assist in paying for capital costs. Earlier this year, Cuyahoga County received $700,000 in state dollars through a capital re-appropriation. Anticipating a new capital bill, the County has asked legislators and Governor DeWine’s administration to support another $4.5 million for this innovative project.

“The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board is very excited to partner with the County, Oriana House, FrontLine Service, and local law enforcement on a Diversion Center to ensure that people with mental illness and/or substance use disorders are diverted to treatment rather than going to jail,”  said Scott S. Osiecki, Chief Executive Officer of the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County. “Diversion to treatment from jail is an essential step in making sure that the residents of Cuyahoga County receive the care they need.”

“Enabling those with behavioral health issues to get help before entering the criminal justice system is a win for the individual and the public,”
said Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge David Matia. “I am very excited to live in a county at the forefront helping our fragile brothers and sisters get the help they need.”