The cover story for the August edition of Governing profiles the efforts of Miami-Dade County to reduce the criminalization of individuals with behavioral health problems through the use of tools such as  pre-arrest diversion programs and a postbooking diversion program that offers people charged with misdemeanors and second- and third-degree felonies an opportunity to get out of jail and go into treatment.   Miami-Dade has also created a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) that trains officers to distinguish between different types of mental illnesses and respond accordingly.  The County offers crisis stabilization centers that provide an alternative to arrest.   As a result of efforts such as these, arrests have been reduced to the point that the county closed one of its five jail facilities last year.  As noted in the article, legislative efforts to improve Florida’s behavioral health system did not become law during the shortened 2015 session, but the bills are likely to return during the 2016 session.  Both alternative court funding and behavior health programs are slated as FAC public safety priorities and will discussed during FAC’s Policy Conference meeting.  Read the entire article here: