Project Connect (2008–2009)

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with the Co-Occurring Collaborative Serving Maine, obtained a $48,301 planning grant for the development of a strategic plan to enhance collaboration across the criminal justice and behavioral health systems from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Project Connect promoted screening for criminal risk and behavioral health issues throughout the correctional system to guide, collaborate and inform treatment decisions and plans. In addition, the strategic plan developed targeted interventions for criminal risks, programming for mentoring, and peer-to-peer supports for the mental health and co-occurring substance abuse offender population in Cumberland County.

Early identification through screening yields more appropriate assessments and sharing of information. This can be used to match expanded evidence-based interventions to manage offenders with co-occurring mental health and/or co-occurring conditions appropriately by risk and need. This reduces recidivism, increases public safety, and uses resources more effectively. The collaborative process and the protocols developed can guide and inform other jurisdictions.