Thursday, June 30, 2022

FAQs for County Court Jail Diversion Program

Related Information

QHow does the Jail Diversion Program work?
A defendant meeting program criteria is transferred out of jail to a mental health facility within 24-48 hours of an arrest for necessary treatment. Within 24 hours of an arrest, the jail psychiatrist determines if a defendant meets criteria for an evaluation for involuntary hospitalization. If so, the case is expeditiously placed before one of the two Jail Division judges to determine if the defendant should be transported to a mental health crisis receiving facility. Individuals diverted for crisis stabilization are monitored by the Court Case Management Specialist who works with the CMHP to ensure that diverted individuals receive adequate services and aftercare planning. Diverted individuals are also monitored by staff from the Administrative Office of the Courts Mental Health Administrators Office, which is responsible for reporting to the Judiciary and arranging all mental health evaluation, treatment, and monitoring services. Based on the severity of the charges and the defendant’s criminal and mental health history, a determination is made in consultation with the State Attorney’s Office and the defense counsel whether or not to dismiss charges upon the client’s stabilization and completion of a discharge plan. If it is determined at discharge that the defendant requires greater supervision, the defendant is transported back to court by the Department of Corrections where the court decides the appropriate outcome and conditions for release. As part of the Project, probation officers are specially trained to handle defendants with mental illnesses. When appropriate, defendants are placed on probation with these particular probation officers who work to keep the defendant compliant with treatment. Monitoring a defendant on a misdemeanor charge ranges from six months to a year. Failure of a defendant to comply with treatment may result in the initiation of Baker Act proceedings or on rare occasions, incarceration. In cases where it has been determined that the defendant does not need to return to court, the charges are dismissed after the court receives a discharge summary from the receiving facility, and the defendant agrees to participate in the Jail Diversion Program. The defendant is then referred to a community-based treatment program for ongoing treatment.
QWho is eligible for the Jail Diversion Program?
                  Eligible individuals must have pending misdemeanor charges, be booked into the jail, and meet criteria for involuntary                         psychiatric examination based on Florida Statutes. Individuals arrested on felony charges are not eligible at this time.
QHow are eligible individuals screened?
Eligible individuals are screened for the program at the jail by correctional health staff.
QHow can I get more information about the Jail Diversion Program?

Contact Cindy Schwartz (305) 548-5319 Monday-Friday 9AM to 5PM, or email cischwartz@jud11.flcourts.org for more information on the Jail Diversion Program.

COURT CASE MANAGEMENT: Case Managers assigned to the Post-Booking Jail Diversion Program by the Florida Department of Children and Families facilitate discharge and after care planning for program clients diverted to mental health facilities from jail. In addition, peer specialists employed by the CMHP and social work students completing university practicum placements are assigned to Post-Booking Jail Diversion clients after discharge from mental health facilities to improve engagement into the program and community mental health system.


Transition Program: The Court utilizes an assessment tool for clients in the Post-Booking Jail Diversion Program in an effort to meet individual needs when determining appropriate aftercare.

Housing Program: The Court works closely with the Homeless Trust andother community housing organizations to ensure that adequate housing is available for program clients.

ID Program: The Court collaborates with Camillus House to offer program clients identification cards.

Entitlements Program: The Court collaborates with the local Social Security Administration Office to facilitate and expedite program clients’ access to benefits.

Contingency Funds: Funds are available for indigent program clients for housing and medication needs through the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Jail Diversion Expansion Program

ALF QUALITY OF CARE PROGRAM: CMHP established an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) referral program in order to improve the access to and the quality of care received at ALFs in Miami-Dade County. ALFs participating in this program have agreed to comport themselves to the Court’s standards of care and to avail themselves to a monitoring system bya team of Court appointed professionals.

RESEARCH PROGRAM: CMHP continuously leads evaluation efforts to determine recidivism, cost analysis, program effectiveness, and other areas of interest to the Project.

CONTACTS: For additional information regarding the CMHP, contact the following individuals:

The Honorable Steve Leifman, Associate Administrative Judge, 

Criminal Division

Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building

1351 NW 12 Street, Room 617

Miami, FL 33125

Tel.: (305) 548-5394


Alina Perez-Sheppe, M.A. Mental Health Project Coordinator

1351 NW 12th Street, Room 104

Miami, FL 33125

Tel.: (305) 548-5139


Cindy Schwartz, M.S., MBA Director, Jail Diversion Expansion Program

Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building

1351 NW 12 Street, Room 226

Miami, FL 33125

Tel.: (305) 548-5319


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