Jail Diversion Program
The Behavioral Health Diversion program is a community partnership working with mental health consumers and their family members. This two-part program sets a standard or excellence for behavioral health providers and law enforcement with respect to treatment of individuals with mental illness and substance abuse. This is done by providing the best quality training, commitment to clear communication and collaboration with community resources and development of new points of contact within our communities and across Yakima County.
This program enjoins behavioral health providers, law enforcement, family and individual support (NAMI) and the greater community for the common goal of safety, understanding and service to the mentally ill/chemically affected and their families.
The premise for this program is that law enforcement is often the first point of contact for people in crisis. Since the initial interaction with behavioral disorders are so critical to determining the situations success this diversion strategy relies heavily on well trained officers who are knowledgeable regarding the nature of behavioral disorders and resources available in the community.
People who commit an act constituting a non-felony crime can be referred to the behavioral health diversion program in the officer believes, knows (and/or in consultation with Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health) that the individual presents with behavioral health issues. The individual will be transported by law enforcement to the crisis triage center where they will be evaluated by a mental health professional.
Once admitted to the program the individual will be assessed for mental health, substance abuse, inpatient services and residential services. As applicable the staff will complete substance abuse assessment and refer the individual to appropriate treatment. It is a goal of the staff to engage the individual with enough services to decrease the likelihood of law enforcement contact and/or probation violations.
The behavioral health diversion program is a pilot program with limited funding. Comprehensive staff will notify participating agencies when access to resources are limited or if an individual who may have qualified for diversion but due to limited resources will have to be sent to jail.