FORENSIC INTENSIVE REINTEGRATION SUPPORT TEAM (F.I.R.S.T.): NAMI employs a Forensic Peer Specialist on this team to help those inmates who have a mental illness successfully re-enter the community.

Our goal is to:

  • Help those suffering from a mental illness to obtain mental health services through improved access
  • Improve connectedness
  • Prevent Recidivism
  • Assist people who struggle with mental health and substance abuse issues to receive the services they need in order to change behaviors and thoughts that have led them to be involved with the criminal justice system.
This forensic peer specialist works alongside case managers and clinicians from the David Lawrence Center and health professionals in the Collier County Jail to support persons being released from this jail or who are at risk of being re-arrested. Supports such as linkage to treatment, identifying barriers to recovery, successful independent living skills, and follow-up are all part of this process.

CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST support: NAMI employs a person in recovery at the Crisis Stabilization Unit at David Lawrence Center to link community services and provide peer support.

We know that people learn best from their peers. As with any health diagnosis, support is often sought out by others that have the same diagnosis. Having a person in recovery housed in the Crisis Stabilization Unit allows persons in crisis to immediately feel a sense of companionship and camaraderie with our Certified Peer Specialist. He also explains the system itself, resources and links to NAMI. Population served is those in the Crisis Unit.

F.I.R.S.T. Program Overview
first overviewThe Collier County FIRST program provides intensive community re-entry assistance to inmates that suffer with serious mental illnesses who may also have co-occurring substance disorders. The program provides select inmates with services designed to facilitate their mental and behavioral health recovery. Referrals can come from family members, legal services, or community providers.

The program is:

  • Voluntary
  • An average of 6-12 months
  • For adults over 18 years of age
The FIRST program provides enrolled individuals with the opportunity to participate in mental health services, intensive case management, supported housing, and supported employment in order to achieve rehabilitation and reintegration in the community.

NAMI of COLLIER COUNTY provides specialized peer support by employing a person with lived experience to assist participants with personal recovery goals.

COLLIER COUNTY SHERIFF”S OFFICE and PRISON HEALTH SERVICES provide a jail reintegration specialist for individualized discharge planning.

DAVID LAWRENCE CENTER provides the case management and therapeutic component for the FIRST program.

FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY provides interns to assist with basic living skills and opportunities for social inclusion in the community.

Goals and Admission Overview
What are the Goals of the F.I.R.S.T. Program?

  • Participate in alternatives to incarceration
  • Obtain mental health services through improved access
  • Reduce days in jail
  • Attain permanent and stable housing
  • Improve social connectedness
  • Reduce recidivism
What is the Admission Criteria?

The person must:

  • Have a serious mental health disorder (Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, Bipolar Disorder, or Major Depressive Disorder)
  • Enter the program voluntarily
  • Not be a public safety risk
  • Cooperatively establish an individualized Intervention Plan
  • Demonstrate progress towards goals
  • Refrain from engaging in illegal activity
How the Program Works

Step One:

Following the arrest, if the inmate is determined to have a mental health diagnosis, a referral is made. Once the referral is received, an appointment is scheduled with the potential client for a screening. If the client is deemed appropriate and willing to participate, a clinical assessment is completed, and public safety risks are considered.

Step Two:

After final approval from the multi-disciplinary interagency FIRST team members, an Intervention Plan is developed cooperatively to specifically address the individual’s needs. The client and team members must all agree on the terms of the plans.

Step Three:

Successful completion of the Intervention Plan goals will indicate a closing of the client’s work with the FIRST program team members. The client will be linked with appropriate mental health services, have stable housing, a job if appropriate, and have developed skills that will assist that individual in having a productive and successful future free from interaction with the correctional system.