(Chicago) — Jac Charlier has been named executive director of the Center for Health and Justice at TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities).
The Center (CHJ) helps justice and healthcare systems reduce crime and improve community health by diverting eligible people who have substance use and mental health conditions into community-based treatment and recovery.
As drug overdose deaths across the country have skyrocketed, Charlier is a leading voice in the emerging national movement toward pre-arrest diversion or “deflection” as standard practice, whereby law enforcement officers will, whenever appropriate, deflect people with behavioral health issues to treatment in the community.
TASC has a 40-year history of providing alternatives to incarceration and connecting justice systems to substance use and mental health treatment in the community. CHJ was established by TASC in 2006, bringing forth lessons from research and TASC’s direct experience accessing treatment and annually case managing thousands of individuals involved in Illinois courts and corrections systems.
Providing consultation and public policy solutions at local, state, federal, and international levels, some of the Center’s recent accomplishments include:
- Co-designing research-based tools and training to assist law enforcement, jails, probation, parole, and fire/EMS in screening for opioid overdose risk, in order to quickly connect people to treatment as needed;
- Training justice leaders, from judges to sheriffs to chiefs, on evidence-based practices to respond to the opioid crisis and reduce crime;
- Providing consultation to build linkages from jails or prisons and facilitate successful community reentry;
- Co-leading the initiation of Illinois Senate Bill 3023, signed into law as a first-of-its-kind legislation in the US to help facilitate pre-arrest deflection; and
- Developing and delivering curricula on alternatives to incarceration for numerous countries in the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Based on the scope and success of Center’s work under Charlier’s leadership, who joined TASC in 2011, he becomes CHJ’s first full-time executive director.
Jac Charlier, Executive Director, TASC Center for Health and Justice
“Nationally and locally, Jac has catapulted the conversation of deflection as a first response,” said TASC President Pam Rodriguez.
“His experience in community corrections, his understanding of the importance of local solutions to solve local problems, and his ability to see the big picture as well as commonalities among jurisdictions, all have enabled him to successfully build coalitions that work toward common goals.”
In 2017, Charlier co-founded the national Police, Treatment and Community Collaborative (PTACC), where he has led the development of frameworks for preventing and reducing opioid overdose and death among justice populations, as well as community-based post-overdose response strategies for law enforcement.
“Working in partnership with prominent leaders in justice, research, community, and treatment, TASC’s Center for Health and Justice continues to be relentlessly focused on creating the next generation of crime reduction solutions that lie at the intersection of the criminal justice and behavioral health,” said Charlier. “This means connecting people to treatment, understanding the research and science, staying close to the community, recognizing and addressing racial disparities, and always remembering the urgency and purpose of our work, especially for those who have been victims of crime.”
Prior to joining TASC, Charlier worked for 16 years with the Parole Division of the Illinois Department of Corrections, beginning as a street parole officer, and rising to deputy chief of parole, where he led system-wide parole operations for the Chicago metropolitan area.