Jail Diversion services are available to adults that, due to a serious and persistent mental illness, are subject to arrest or have been arrested for a non-violent felony or misdemeanor. The purpose is to divert individuals from incarceration by linking them with appropriate mental health in the community.
Yamhill County Health and Human Services (YCHHS) Jail Diversion team attends local Community Courts and Mental Health Court in hopes of identifying and assisting people struggling with legal charges due to their mental illness. Courts may refer people they identify as struggling with mental illness to Jail Diversion staff; participation with Jail Diversion staff is voluntary. Sometimes Community Outreach Services (COS) or Jail therapists are made aware of a person who is severely mentally ill and needs a higher level of care. In these instances, specially trained staff work to identify options for jail diversion, which may include Aid and Assist (a court-ordered sentence for mental health treatment, most often at Oregon State Hospital) or pre-civil commitment. YCHHS Diversion staff work closely with legal systems to assist in these legal processes, while evaluating and attempting to locate the lowest level of care for the individual’s health and safety.