(The Center Square) – An advisory group created through executive order will work with Maryland’s network of behavior and mental health programs, Gov. Larry Hogan said.

The governor announced the creation of the Maryland Behavioral Health and Public Safety Center of Excellence Advisory Group via executive order, which will work in concert with the Maryland Behavioral Health and Public Safety Center of Excellent.

The creation of the advisory board came upon the recommendation of the Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health in Maryland, which is chaired by Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford, according to a release.

“The creation of the Maryland Behavioral Health and Public Safety Center of Excellence Advisory Group will ensure the vital work of the Commission’s efforts to address the mental and behavioral health needs of our citizens involved in the judicial system will continue beyond our administration,” Rutherford said in the release.

The Center for Excellence was created in 2021 through the Legislative process and signed into law by the governor.

The advisory group will work hand-in-hand with the Center for Excellence to advise on the creation and implementation of the Center’s action plan, which is to divert residents experiencing mental illness, intellectual, and developmental disabilities from criminal justice involvement to get the individual the proper treatment.

The group will also support the Center’s sequential intercept model to inform legislation, policy, planning, and funding, and also advise on potential federal funding the Center can apply for, according to the release.

The advisor group, according to the release, will consist of the lieutenant governor, or designee, along with the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services. The secretary of the Department of Health, and Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services will serve on the board. An appointee from the Maryland Chiefs of Police and Maryland Sheriff’s Association, along with one member each appointed by the Senate President and Speaker of the House, will also serve.

A designee will be appointed from the Mental Health Association of Maryland, along with the consideration of a federal designee from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or Office of Justice Programs, and a National Alliance on Mental Illness of Maryland appointee.

Housed in the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victims Services, the center will act as a statewide clearinghouse for behavioral health-related treatment and diversion programs. It will develop a strategic plan to increase treatment and reduce detention of those with behavioral health disorders in the judicial system, and provide technical support for localities to develop behavioral health support systems for those involved in the criminal justice system.

This article was oringally published on TheCenterSquare.com.


Brent Addleman

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers...

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