Media Release

County Participating in National Stepping Up Initiative

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 10:15 AM

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Representatives from Alachua County have been chosen to attend and participate in the national “Stepping Up Initiative.” They are going to Washington DC from April 17, through April 19, 2016, as a team to help address the overrepresentation of people with mental illness in jails across the country.

50 teams were chosen nationally to attend the National Stepping Up Summit. It is 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. The goal is to help policymakers and other local stakeholders create and refine plans to reduce the prevalence of people with mental illnesses in their jails. Full funding to support conference costs of participating teams is provided to those jurisdictions selected in this process.

The County will be represented by Alachua County Commission Chair Robert Hutchinson, Director of the Jail for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Major Charlie Lee, Director of the Alachua County Department of Court Services Peria Duncan, Forensic Program Director for Meridian Behavioral HealthCare, Inc. Leah Vail, and National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)-Gainesville Chapter President Terrie Mullin.

Learn more about the Stepping Up Initiative.

For more information, contact Alachua County Court Services’ Stuart Wegener at 352-548-3708 or


  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).