What We Do
In 2019, Cabarrus County Department of Human Services and Cabarrus County Detention Center partnered to maintain the Stepping Up Program initially launched through a state grant. The program under DHS supervision employed a team (3 staff) working with individuals both incarcerated and post-release. In June 2023, Cabarrus County Government and the Department of Human Services contacted CHA's newly formed Behavioral Health Division to assess interest in taking on oversight and expanding the Stepping Up program. CHA hired an additional case manager and clinician to ensure adequate staffing that could also manage the special watch and suicide watch programs within the jail.
CHA staff work with justice-involved persons from the point when they are arrested and taken into custody, at which time detention officers perform medical screenings that Stepping Up staff review. Certain questions within the screening tool are designed to determine if an individual has a mental health or substance use disorder. When reviewing the screenings, staff determine which individuals might need additional follow-up and then take them through a more detailed questionnaire. Staff analyze where that individual is currently in their mental health needs, and together, they develop a justice-involved person design a treatment and transition plan.
As part of that plan, Stepping Up staff assist individuals with setting up appointments with treatment providers when they are released and follow up with them even after they’ve left the detention center to be sure they kept those meetings.
Updated: October 2023
Who We Serve
How We Impact
In 2016, Cabarrus County committed to becoming a partner of the national Stepping Up initiative. The initiative focuses on reducing the number of people with mental illness in jails. The concept of mental health overhaul is tremendous; however, acknowledging and responding to a problem that affects one of our own programs was a starting place.
According to the Stepping Up Initiative, two million people with serious mental illness are admitted to jails across the nation each year. Almost three-quarters of these adults also have drug and alcohol use problems. Once incarcerated, individuals with mental illness tend to stay longer in jail and upon release are at a higher risk of returning to incarceration than those without these illnesses.