ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has announced the award of a $1.2 million grant to Alachua County, as a part of the Department’s Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Reinvestment Program. The DCF competitive grant award process evaluated applications submitted by 14 separate Florida counties, and Alachua County was one of eight counties to receive a grant award.
The purpose of the grant is to improve access to and expand treatment services for adults and juveniles who have a mental illness, a substance use disorder, or a combination of such issues and who are involved or at risk of involvement in the criminal justice system. The funds will increase access to treatment and case management services, and reduce costly incarceration.
The grant award provides $400,000 annually for 3 years. The County will match these funds through cash and in-kind support. This grant builds on a foundation laid by Alachua County and private nonprofit partner agencies over the past 6 years.
The County has been the recipient of two prior Reinvestment Grants for 3 years, the first one having been made in 2008.
Key partners in the new Program include: the County and its Department of Court Services; Meridian Behavioral Health Care, Inc.; the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office; the Gainesville Police Department through its BOLD Program; the Departments of Corrections and Juvenile Justice; and the Alachua County Homeless Coalition.
Outcomes to date from the local program have been highly positive, including significant reductions in arrests, recidivism and the costs of jail incarceration. Of 278 participants in the program tracked after a one year period, more than half (61%) had fewer arrests during the 12 months after enrollment. The Program leveraged a total saving of 14,800 jail days over one year as well as other criminal justice system costs projected net annual savings of nearly $400,000.
Alachua Commissioner Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson commented on the news of the grant, “This is great news for Alachua County. The Program has proven to be a wise investment of scarce funds from the State which are matched with limited County funds. The resulting effort strengthens our ability to help this population receive the treatment they need to stay in the community and increase their potential to lead productive lives.”
View the formal announcement by DCF of the Reinvestment Grant Award.
For more information, contact Alachua County Court Services Director, Thomas Tonkavich at 352-491-4650.