INDIANAPOLIS – Communities from across the state are working to improve responding to mental health needs—including for people involved in the courts. The teams are gathering as part of a statewide Mental Health Summit which is taking place on Friday, October 21 at the Indiana Convention Center.
In the 2022 State of the Judiciary, Chief Justice Loretta Rush described the importance of all three branches of government working together on mental health needs, including the implementation of the national mental health hotline (known as 988). She said, “It’s the future of crisis care—a hotline for mental health emergencies where the immediate crisis response is connected to the infrastructure in place.”
The Summit will bring together teams who currently serve as community leaders for their local JRAC or Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council. Local JRAC teams were created in 2021 through legislation passed unanimously in both the Indiana House and Senate. HEA 1068, signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb, creates local criminal justice stakeholder groups to improve public safety and create community well-being.
The county teams in attendance at the Summit will include judges, prosecutors, public defenders, chief probation officers, sheriffs, county council members, county commissioners, community corrections directors, and representatives from local community mental health centers.
The expected 900 attendees will be welcomed by Chief Justice Rush, Governor Eric Holcomb, Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, and House Speaker Todd Huston. An agenda for the day is available online.
The Summit is being held in partnership with the Association of Indiana Counties; Family and Social Services Administration, Division of Mental Health & Addiction; Indiana Governor’s Office; Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council; Indiana Public Defender Council; Indiana Sheriffs Association; Indiana Supreme Court; National Center for State Courts; National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness; and with funding support provided by the State Justice Institute.