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 Blog Post

New Opportunities for CIT Training in BCC, Parole

January 08, 2020 12:00 AM
By: DOC Staff

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‚ÄčThe Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health and addiction professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or addiction disorders, their families, and other advocates. It is an innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention training to help persons with mental disorders and/or addictions access medical treatment rather than place them in the criminal justice system due to illness-related behaviors. It also promotes officer safety and the safety of the individual in crisis.

CIT is a program that provides the foundation necessary to promote community and statewide solutions to assist individuals with a mental illness and/or addictions. The CIT model reduces both stigma and the need for further involvement with the criminal justice system. CIT provides a forum for effective problem solving regarding the interaction between the criminal justice and mental health care system and creates the context for sustainable change.

Research shows that communities that prescribe to the CIT Program model, have higher success rates in resolving serious crisis situations. The basic goals of the CIT program are to improve officer and consumer safety and to help persons with mental disorders and/or addictions access medical treatment rather than place them in the criminal justice system due to illness related behaviors.

In 2017, the DOC received a Justice and Mental Health Collaboration grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to implement "CIT for Community Correction Centers" in three counties (Berks, Mercer, Allegheny). In Allegheny and Mercer, the DOC worked with local partners to build on existing frameworks, including participating in CIT trainings hosted in those counties.

CIT Training was provided in Allegheny County the week of December 16, 2019. Participants included various members of Law Enforcement, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections-Bureau of Community Corrections (BCC), reentry staff as well as various Treatment & Behavioral Health Organizations. CIT is more than just training. Participants learn that successful diversion requires accessible crisis services. True collaboration can occur only when law enforcement, correctional staff, behavioral health agencies, and families and advocates have a clear understanding of and respect for each other's roles in a CIT program. Participants Renewal Inc. MH Case Manager Matt Sloan, Renewal Inc. Intake Coordinator Bailey Frisco, Renewal Inc. Clinical Supervisor Chris Denard, DOC Parole Supervisor Robert Fassinger, DOC Parole Agent 2 John Michelli, were presented Certificates of Completion by Pittsburgh/Allegheny CIT Coordinator Dr. Patty Poloka. In addition, they were provided the official PA DOC BCC & PBPP CIT Pin acknowledging them as CIT Officers by DOC BCC, CIT Coordinator-Region 3 CFC Danielle Steele. 

The federal grant supported efforts to develop CIT trainings in Berks County, where DOC hosted two 40-hour CIT trainings at the DOC Training Academy in July and November 2019. These trainings were held for BCC and parole employees as well as community partners.

In August of 2019, DOC BCC Corrections Evaluation Specialist Sara Breen, DOC Counselor Jim Kehoe and CFC Steele participated in the CIT International Conference held in Seattle, WA (pictured above). All three completed the CIT Coordinator Certification Program and had the opportunity to network with various law enforcement/correctional staff from throughout the US and beyond.

The CIT International Conference will be held in Pittsburgh, PA August 24-26, 2020. The Official Host is Dr. Patty Poloka. To register for the conference or to become a sponsor please go to: http://citinternational.org/events

More CIT trainings will be held for BCC and parole employees in Berks, Mercer, Allegheny in 2020. Please contact Sara Breen (sabreen@pa.gov) for more information.



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