Equitas Foundation to Attend National Summit to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails

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Equitas Foundation will attend the National Stepping Up Summit as part of the only Colorado team to join the event. A total of 50 teams from 37 states will convene to help policymakers create and refine plans to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails.

Equitas Foundation will be attending as part of the team from Kiowa County, the only Colorado County selected to attend the summit.

Equitas Foundation will join county leaders and local policymakers representing 50 jurisdictions in 37 states in Washington, D.C., April 17-19 to address the overrepresentation of people with mental illnesses in jails across the country.

The 50 teams were chosen to attend the National Stepping Up Summit, a first-of-its-kind summit hosted by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, the National Association of Counties (NACo), and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Foundation, to help policymakers and other local stakeholders create and/or refine plans to reduce the prevalence of people with mental illnesses in jails across the country.

Equitas Foundation will be attending as part of the team from Kiowa County, the only Colorado County selected to attend the summit. The Kiowa team includes members from two adjacent counties (Prowers and Otero), as the communities in this vast rural region of southeastern Colorado share many community services. Equitas, a national non-profit based in Colorado, has been working with the Kiowa group, and with other Colorado communities, to identify opportunities and resources for reducing the number of people with mental health challenges who are incarcerated. The National Stepping Up Summit will provide a rich opportunity for Equitas to contribute collaborative energy to the Stepping Up Initiative, as well as for advancing the mission of identifying and disseminating national best practices in mental health and criminal justice reform.

Launched in May 2015 by the CSG Justice Center, NACo, and APA Foundation, Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails, was designed to rally local, state and national leaders around the goal of achieving a reduction in the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. To date, more than 240 counties—both urban and rural—across 41 states have passed resolutions to advance the goals of Stepping Up, representing about 30 percent of the U.S. population and more than half of the largest county jails in the country. To learn more about the Stepping up Initiative go here" and just link to their website at http://www.stepuptogether.org.

About Equitas Foundation
Equitas was founded in 2013 by the David & Laura Merage Foundation. Through the exploration and dissemination of best practices, Equitas promotes collaboration, innovation, and systems change to benefit people with mental disorders and brain challenges in the criminal justice system. For more information, visit http://www.merage-equitas.org.

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Carli Franks
Equitas Foundation
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