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TDMHSAS Announces New Six Million Dollar Federal Grant to Expand Criminal Justice Reform Efforts

Ten new counties to participate in resource mapping and service expansion program
Monday, November 09, 2020 | 07:50am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is receiving a new federal grant to expand criminal justice alternatives for Tennesseans living with addiction.  The $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will cover ten project sites including Anderson, Blount, Bradley, Cheatham, Cocke, Dickson, Grundy, Montgomery, Roane, and Tipton Counties.

Services under the grant begin with a collaborative community review of services under a standardized model called Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) Mapping.  The county-specific report is then used to prioritize needs and make decisions about spending additional funding.

The new grant builds on a previous $6.5 million grant from the Department of Justice that is serving eleven Tennessee counties including Davidson, Hamilton, Jefferson, Knox, Putnam, Sevier, Sullivan, Sumner, Washington, and Wilson.  Five of the project sites for the new grant inquired about services and expressed interest after hearing about the successes of locations in the first grant.

“One of Governor Bill Lee’s first actions was to establish the Criminal Justice Investment Task Force, and I was proud to serve as chair for the mental health and substance use subcommittee.  This grant and all of our work in the field of criminal justice points directly to the findings of that task force: that the state has a great opportunity to increase positive outcomes by investing in behavioral health services for people in jails and prisons,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.  “The fact that we have had so much enthusiasm and interest from local partners in this new grant speaks to the value of the service and the need.  We are grateful to our federal partners, Gov. Lee, and the Tennessee General Assembly for their continued support of our efforts in the criminal justice field.”

Additional strategies employed by the grant following the Sequential Intercept Mapping event include:

  • Law enforcement and other first responder diversion programs for people experiencing substance use
  • Embedding social services with law enforcement in order to rapidly respond to drug overdoses
  • Evidence-based treatment, such as medication-assisted treatment, as well as recovery support services including transitional or recovery housing and peer recovery support services

Learn more about TDMHSAS Division of Substance Abuse Services Office of Criminal Justice Services at this link: tn.gov/behavioral-health/substance-abuse-services/criminal-justice-services