According to the Stepping Up Initiative website, "Each year, there are an estimated 2 million people with serious mental illnesses admitted to jails across the nation. That’s equivalent to the populations of Vermont and New Hampshire—combined. Almost three-quarters of these adults also have drug and alcohol use problems. Once incarcerated, individuals with mental illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and upon release are at a higher risk of returning to incarceration than those without these illnesses."
Stepping Up is a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. Led by the National Association of Counties, the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, and The Council of State Governments Justice Center, Stepping Up provides counties with a framework and tools for creating a collaborative, system-wide plan to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in the county jail in ways that not only improve public safety but promote positive outcomes for individuals with mental illnesses, their families and their communities.
More than 415 counties across the country have passed a resolution or proclamation to join Stepping Up. Lewis and Clark County is one of two Montana counties to have passed such a resolution.