ACCESS to Opportunity: Giving a voice to those involved in with the Justice System
In 2021, ACCESS California embarked on a project with the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH) to provide opportunities for justice-involved individuals to have their voices heard. ACCESS' work with CCJBH focuses on executing activities that aid the reduction of youth and adults with behavioral health needs and their involvement in the criminal/juvenile justice systems. Currently the project is focused on the Superior and Southern Regions of California.
In each region we have recruited ACCESS Ambassadors, held Leadership Roundtables and Stakeholder Focus Groups to amplify the voice of mental health clients/consumers with lived experience in the criminal justice system. In addition to the core activities, ACCESS has also held Community Activation Workshops, Cross-Collaboration Workshops, Peer Provider Workshops, Ambassador trainings, a video campaign and podcasts.
The ACCESS Ambassadors for the Access to Opportunity project provide insight and guidance to our program on mental health and criminal justice involvement policy matters, attend ACCESS-sponsored trainings and state-level events, and perform local-level outreach, engagement, and advocacy in their home communities.
During the virtual Leadership Roundtables (three in each region), we met with local leaders/decision makers to
build relationships and identify opportunities for cross collaboration
collect data and identify community needs
gather perspectives on issues at intersections of behavioral health/criminal justice
identify opportunities for increased cross agency and community collaboration
Stakeholder Focus Groups
Our virtual stakeholder focus groups (three for each region) for allowed youth/adults, priority populations, family members, local advocates and allies to provide their voices to our project. Participants were able to
identify opportunities for cross collaboration
gather views on important behavioral health/criminal justice issues