CRIMINAL JUSTICE – Audrey Dorfman

The Criminal Justice Task Force was formed with a mission to enhance public safety through a coordinated response to mental health issues in the criminal justice system of Yavapai County.

In order to accomplish this goal, three major responses are needed as follows:

  1. Diversion programs to keep people with behavioral health disorders who do not need to be in the criminal justice in the community.
  2. Institutional services to provide constitutionally adequate services in correctional facilities for people with behavioral health disorders who need to be in the criminal justice system because of the severity of the crime.
  3. Reentry transition programs to link people with behavioral health disorders to community-based services when they are discharged.

Programs that have been developed include the creation of a Mental Health Unit inside the Camp Verde Detention Center, a Felony Post Arrest Diversion Program spearheaded by Yavapai County Public Defender’s Office, a Mobile Crisis Unit offered through Spectrum Health, a Crisis Stabilization Unit located in Prescott Valley, Crisis Intervention Training for local law enforcement, Mental Health First Aid Training and Mental Health Rule 11 Court.

Members of the Task Force also work with Arizona State elected officials in the hopes of introducing and passing legislation that would assist in the decriminalization of mental illness.