Equitas Foundation Launches Diversion Power: Reengineering Care, Law Enforcement & Justice Systems

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Diversion Power is a new, innovative process that seeks to ignite communities to reengineer care, law enforcement and justice systems in rural Colorado with an overarching goal of impacting system changes for the fair treatment of those with mental disorders and brain challenges in the criminal justice system.

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Equitas is proud to stand up and be the convening entity that helps guide and support these communities through this transformational process – because we know how important it is and the deep effects it will have...

Equitas Foundation, a non-profit founded by the David & Laura Merage Foundation, announced the launch of Diversion Power which seeks to merge elements of capacity building, the convening of key community leaders, community mapping and systems design to guide rural Colorado communities to identify areas of need and ultimately, result in transforming community practices to institute diversion practices for individuals with mental illness and brain challenges in the justice system. This approach seeks to better support these individuals by connecting them with treatment and resources.

Diversion Power is a multi-step process that emphasizes the need for a long-term commitment to transformation in order to move communities in the critical direction of implementing diversion practices throughout the justice system. “We know that systems reform is a process that requires significant time, resources, and coordination, and many rural communities just do not have that kind of capacity,” said Robyn Loup, Consulting Director for Equitas Foundation. “So, Equitas is proud to stand up and be the convening entity that helps guide and support these communities through this transformational process – because we know how important it is and the deep effects it will have on both the individuals with mental illness and hidden brain challenges as well as the communities overall,” Robyn added.

Sue Renner, Executive Director of the David & Laura Merage Foundation said, “We are enthusiastic about the launch of Diversion Power as we know the potential community impacts are limitless. Equitas has spent countless hours researching best practices and meeting with community leaders to garner the right knowledge and relationships to serve as the natural convener for this vital community work.”

Equitas has already begun facilitating the Diversion Power program by initiating the Early Diversion "Train the Trainers" State Initiative via a partnership with the Colorado State Office of Behavioral Health which commences with a fully-subsidized two-day training workshop on August 4-5, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. This training will provide up to 25 participants with the tools and expertise to help their community and region develop jail diversion solutions.

About Equitas
Equitas was founded in 2013 by the David & Laura Merage Foundation. Equitas serves as a connection point to foster collaboration for innovative solutions that impact system changes to benefit people with mental disorders and brain challenges in the criminal justice system. Through the exploration of best practices, Equitas ensures that law enforcement and the justice system are fully informed, empowered and engaged to proactively address the needs of people with mental disorders and hidden brain challenges. For more information, visit http://www.merage-equitas.org.

About the David & Laura Merage Foundation
The David & Laura Merage Foundation promotes self-sufficiency through education and community development. The foundation supports programs that are focused on social change and result in children, families and communities improving the quality and circumstances of their lives. David & Laura Merage believe that education is the gateway to optimal life outcomes. For more information, please visit http://www.merage.org.

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Carli Franks
Equitas Foundation
+1 (303) 789-2664 Ext: 265
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