The Meridian Forensic Team is a multidisciplinary, multi-agency group of professionals whose primary goal is to prevent and divert potential participants from involvement with the criminal justice system, extensive incarcerations and/or commitment to forensic state hospitals.
The team improves Community Mental Health based on the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM), utilizing outreach, intervention, and treatment services. The team also provides outreach, training, and collaboration with key stakeholders, including Law Enforcement agencies, Department of Corrections Probation and Parole, the Courts, attorneys and county governments.
Specialty Forensic Courts
The team assists the courts and attorneys with criminal proceedings, providing Forensic Intervention Services and treatment for offenders in specialty courts:
- Bradford County Mental Health Court
- Alachua County Mental Health Court
- Levy County Mental Health Court
- 8th Judicial Circuit Division V Felony Forensics Court
Mental Health Verdicts
The team monitors and provides treatment for offenders who have been deemed Incompetent to Proceed or Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity in the community and jails, diverting them from forensic state hospitals.
- Community Competency Training
- Jail Competency Training
- Conditional Release Monitoring
- Treatment Services
- Intervention Services
Forensic State Hospital Commitments
The team monitors progress at Forensic State Hospitals and Step Down units who meet criteria for hospitalization as determined by the courts. Team members develop Conditional Release Plans and monitor in the community, providing options for offenders to be discharged from state hospitals and step down units and return to the community earlier.
Treatment Services help individuals with mental health, substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders attain sufficient stability of lifestyle and successful involvement with lesser intensive community programs or self-sufficiency based on individually designed interventions and clinical skill building.
Forensic treatment benefits the individuals served by increasing their quality of life by providing:
- Intensive case management
- Psychiatric services (if needed)
- Peer mentoring
- Mental health and substance abuse treatment (individual, group and/or both)
The Team uses forensic evidenced based practices including Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, GAIN’s Reentry Checklist, APIC Model, Moral Reconation Therapy, and SOAR (disability).
Treatment needs addressed can include:
- Symptoms of mental illness
- Addiction issues
- Manifestations of personality disorders
- Trauma history
- Maladaptive social learning
In conjunction with coordinated case management and connection to other social services, treatment can elicit significant and measurable improvements in quality of life and reduction of a number of factors correlated with recidivism.
Forensic Intervention Services
The Team works closely with attorneys, probation officers, and consumers to provide needed services:
- In jail assessment and case planning
- Housing, employment, transportation, and medication assistance
- Residential and Outpatient Substance Abuse/ Mental Health treatment
- Medication Assisted Treatment
- Case management of clients while in jail and community.
The Team includes Certified Peer Specialists, who bring their unique experiences with the Criminal Justice System, Mental Health disorders, and Substance Abuse histories, and who have learned to manage them, fostering trust and hope in those who have been marginalized and stigmatized for much of their lives.