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New campaign will focus on keeping mentally ill out of jail By Charlie Ban NACo will partner with the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Founda- tion to lead Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails. Te initiative kicked off May 5. “Counties are working to reduce the number of people with behav ioral health and substance abuse needs in jails across the country,” said NACo Executive Director Matt Chase. “Tis cutting-edge initiative will help coun- ties focus on results and take their ef- forts to the next level. It will support action-oriented, comprehensive strate- gies to provide needed services in ap- propriate settings.” Te prevalence of mental illness in jails is now three-to-six times higher than in the gen eral population. Cur- rently, people with mental illnesses number more than 2 million in jails. And counties are spending more for mental health services in jails and get- ting worse results than community- based programs. Lack of appropriate care means longer jail stays, higher bills for counties and a higher likeli- hood of recidivism. Te initiative will convene representa- tives from organizations involved in the issue, including county sheriffs, judges, jail admin istrators, treatment providers, and mental health and sub- stance abuse counselors. Stepping Up’s “call to action” will in- volve counties passing resolutions committing to the following:


• assembling a diverse group of lead- ers from involved agencies


• assessing needs based on the prev- alence of inmates with mental ill- ness in a county’s jail


COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2015


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About NACo – The Voice of America’s Counties


National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the U.S. NACo provides essential services to the nation’s 3,068 coun- ties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public’s understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innova- tive solutions through education and research and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money.


• examining service capacity and policy, and funding barriers to adding to that capacity


• developing a plan to get those services to more people who need them


• implementing research-based ap- proaches that advance the plans


• and developing program evalua- tion processes.


A national summit, planned for Spring 2016 in Washington, D.C., will gather counties that have signed the call to action and consist of activities to help advance their plans. Attendees will form the core group of counties that will lead others in the effort. Techniques to accomplish this goal, will include law enforcement train- ing, changing funding mechanisms for mental and behavioral health, and in- creased collaboration between state and local leaders, all adding up to systemic changes in the approach the criminal justice system takes in interact ing with people with mental illness.


NACo releases report on county en- ergy savings and emissions reduction By Coleman Davis NACo has released a new report, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: Tracking County Energy Savings and Emissions Reductions. Te report explores how NACo is helping 97 counties track energy and water con- sumption for more than 2,079 coun- ty-owned buildings using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. It also highlights the benefits counties have seen using the tool, including re- duced greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage. Te ENERGY STAR program is a free


suite of products from the EPA that since 1992 has helped reduce energy and water demands in residential and commercial buildings. Each year, the program saves more than $9 billion in energy costs, and prevents nearly 135 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. County-owned buildings of all sizes and ages including court houses, office buildings fire stations can benefit from using ENERGY STAR tools. Te Portfolio Manager tool is a free on- line tool that enables counties to track their energy and water consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions. By setting benchmarks, counties can com- pare current data for one building or an entire suite with past performance, and can also see how their energy and water usage compares to similar build- ings throughout the country. To read the report, go to www.naco.org/ newsroom and click on Publications.


Registration is open for NACo’s 80th Annual Conference NACo’s 80th Annual Conference and Exposition provides an opportunity for all county leaders and staff to learn, network and guide the direction of the association. Te Annual Conference, held each July, is hosted by a NACo member county. Tis year, the conference will be held July 10-13 in Mecklenburg County, (Charlotte) North Carolina. Te An- nual Conference provides county offi- cials with a great opportunity to vote on NACo’s policies related to federal legislation and regulation;


ficers; network with colleagues; learn about innovative county programs; find out about issues impacting coun- ties across the country; and view prod- ucts and services from participating companies and exhibitors. Go to www.naco.org and click on the events tab for registration information.


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