Meridian Awarded Implementation and Expansion Grant for Criminal Justice, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Program in Levy County

Meridian was awarded an initial planning grant for this program in 2018

Gainesville, Fla. – Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. has been awarded a $450,000 grant over three years from the Criminal Justice, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Reinvestment Grant (CJMHSAG) for program implementation and expansion in Levy County. After initially receiving a planning grant in 2018, the entire team is pleased about this expansion.

After the planning phase was completed, it was determined that the CJMHSAG program will focus on furthering jail diversion strategies for individuals with mental health, substance use, or co-occurring disorders. Diversion strategies will include in-jail transition services, Mental Health Court, and Forensic Outpatient services.

“One of the key goals for the CJMHSAG program is to not just divert individuals from jail and prison, but to help them with successful reentry back into their communities,” said Jeremiah Alberico, Vice President of Diversion & Recovery Services. “Arming individuals with learned life skills, healthy coping skills, stability, and insight into their mental health and/or substance use. A supportive Meridian Diversion and Recovery Team also assists them along their way to success,” continued Alberico.

For more than 13 years, Meridian has collaborated with the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida; providing services in Bradford County for the last four years and Alachua County for the duration of the partnership. This additional grant funding will help to expand these services in Levy County, including the Mental Health Court, which was started in 2017, and has successfully diverted defendants suffering from a mental health crisis or substance use disorder from jail and expedited their legal case processing.

With this grant expansion, the overarching project goals include:

  1. To increase public safety and reduce criminal justice costs in Levy County by diverting individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders, or co-occurring disorders from the jails or from forensic hospitalization.
  2. To enhance accessibility to comprehensive, evidence-based treatment and recovery support services for individuals with mental illness and/or substance use disorders who are in, or are at risk of entering, the criminal justice system.

For more information on this grant expansion and all of Meridian’s Diversion and Recovery efforts, please visit www.mbhci.org/treatment-and-service/outpatient-services/forensic-services/.

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