Sheriff Peter Koutoujian addressed participants at the Data-Driven Justice & Behavioral Health Design Institute on Wednesday, September 6, in Rockville, Maryland.
The aim of the convening was to assist communities who have signed on to the Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) Initiative continue to build on progress towards implementing systems to more effectively assist individuals “with complex physical health, behavioral health, criminal justice and social service needs.”
The goal of the DDJ Initiative is to use data to break the cycle of incarceration for those suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders. Last year, 42% of those entering the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction required medical detoxification for drugs or alcohol, while 46% reported a history of mental illness.
Locally, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and more than 20 municipal police departments from Ashland to Lowell make up the Middlesex County Data-Driven Justice Initiative.
“By sharing data across systems, and jurisdictions, we can break the cycle of incarceration and produce better outcomes for those in crisis,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “I want to thank the organizers for the invitation to share our experiences. These forums are critical opportunities to learn from colleagues and I know we are bringing back lessons that will help us within Middlesex County.”
The Sheriff spoke on a panel entitled “Working Across Systems to Improve Outcomes.”
The Data-Driven Justice & Behavioral Health Design Institute was hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF).