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April 12, 2011 Published in Health & Fitness, Top Stories

Virginia Attorney General Visits Behavioral Health/Criminal Justice Program

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and CSB Director Mike Gilmore (Courtesy Photo)

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli visited the Alexandria Detention Center to learn about a City-wide initiative to help persons with mental illness live law abiding and productive lives in our community. Cucinnelli met with Alexandria Community Services Board (CSB) Executive Director Mike Gilmore, CSB Clinical and Emergency Services Director Liz Wixson, Chief Deputy Tony DiCesare and Captain Doug Shuler from the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Chief of Police Hassan Aden and clinical staff from both the CSB and the Alexandria Detention Center.

The Alexandria Behavioral Health/Criminal Justice Partnership involves several components, including the Mental Health Probation & Parole Project, which provides intensive support and supervision to persons with mental illness and a history of criminal justice involvement, helping them to abide by the conditions of their probation and decrease chances of re-offending. Participants in this state-funded program have a 63% decrease in days of incarceration after receiving 12 months of intensive services.

Other components include: Detox Drop Off, a collaboration between the CSB and the Police Department that offers persons picked up for “drunk in public” an opportunity to engage in substance abuse treatment; Jericho Project, a public defender-led alternative sentencing program for persons with a serious mental illness; Crisis Intervention Team, a group of police officers and sheriff’s deputies who are trained to respond to persons in a mental health crisis; and, Re-Entry Council, which works to ensure that offenders returning to Alexandria from jail and prison receive services to live successful and law abiding lives.

Cuccinelli toured the mental health and substance abuse treatment programs in the Detention Center. He met directly with clients receiving treatment services and said that Alexandria’s programs to help persons with mental illness live law abiding lives could serve as a model for the State.

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