Forensic Services Team

Jayme Whitaker

Jayme Whitaker

I am the Vice President of Forensic Services at Mental Health America of Indiana, Director of the Integrated Reentry and Correctional Support (IRACS) program. I am an advocate for recovery and a person who is in long-term recovery. I have worked as a peer guiding local and statewide system efforts around recovery ecosystem infrastructure development and peer service delivery in community, correctional and justice settings. Having experience and knowledge to advocate and help those impacted by substance-use disorder and/or mental illness. I am also a strong advocate for all marginalized individuals who are system involved, youth, adults and their families and believe in the hope recovery can offer everyone. 

I am an artist who enjoys painting, writing, and reading. I am an avid hunter who spends much of my time doing fun things outdoors with my dogs. My greatest joys in life are my four kids and my grandson Arlo.

Micheal Prather

Michael Prather

I am the Forensic Engagement Manager for Indiana Forensic Services. I have worked with and in various mental health and substance misuse settings, such as criminal justice centers with first responders and criminal justice-involved individuals, community mental health centers, and transitional housing for over 7 years. I have dedicated myself to empowering other justice-involved individuals to find and travel their own path toward successful recovery.

Professionally, I earned a MA in Psychology and Addiction Counseling from Aspen University in 2016. Formerly I was a QMHP at Quality Correctional Care working clinically with incarcerated individuals facilitating group and individual counseling.  Previously, I was a member of the Noble County Problem Solving Court adult treatment team.

I have been married to my wife, Susan, for 17 years. and we are the proud parents of 3 children, 3 rescue dogs, and 7 rescue cats. One of my passions continues to be rescuing and advocating for abused and unwanted animals.

Jen Cauthern

Jen Cauthern

I spent 5 years working for the local health department in Howard County doing Narcan training, preparedness outreach, and public health program development. For the last 2 years I worked for a recovery organization doing grant management, data tracking, and outcome measurement.

In 2016 I finished my master’s degree in public health, focusing on disease burden due to environmental factors. This passion to minimize disease transmission, especially HIV and Hepatitis C from environmental factors such as shared injection equipment, prepared me for my future endeavors working in harm reduction and with mental health and substance use organizations. I am excited to be a part of MHAI to further the mission of helping people on their path to recovery.

When I am not spending time at home with my kids and pets, I enjoy spending my free time being outdoors and gardening. I also enjoy crafting, sewing, and costume making for cosplay and comic conventions.

Jeff Coomer

Jeff Coomer

I have an incredible, supportive wife and a six-year-old daughter. I’ve worked in Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health focused roles for the past 15 years. I started my career as Correctional Officer for IDOC in 2007 and was promoted to Sergeant within my first 2 years. I became involved in various training roles which is where my program creation and implementation journey began. I spent approximately 5 years with IDOC before transitioning to county focused work at Johnson County Juvenile Justice Center.

After leaving Corrections I moved over to the Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorder treatment space, with a primary focus on reentry and community reintegration utilizing a peer support model. I am wrapping up my bachelor’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University in Addiction Counseling. I am extremely passionate about treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues, specifically working alongside the criminal justice system for the purpose of improving the community at large.

Shane Beal

Shane Beal

I identify first and foremost as a person in long term recovery. I’ve overcome the grip of substance use disorder in my own life after spending several years in and out of jails and prison. Prior to my release, I was an attorney for nearly twenty years. Given my professional experience and lived experience in the justice system, I feel uniquely positioned to advocate for those struggling with substance use disorder and to walk with them as they face the tough decisions of starting or continuing their own recovery journey.

I am now a living example of how – with the right resources, support, and willingness to change – an individual is able to not only get their own life back on track, but to help others do the same. I am committed both my career and personal life and my passion for recovery, be it through coaching individuals through his recovery home, Agape, in Marion, IN, as well as working at the judicial level to advocate for change within the justice system. With my passion for helping people find their own way, I am a firm believer that we are all just walking each other home.

Gabby Needler

Gabby Needler

I began my career in social services as the operations manager at Los Angeles County’s largest shelter for survivors of domestic violence. From there I became director for a non-profit that spearheaded legislative efforts impacting transition-aged youth services and would successfully pass multiple assembly bills in the State of California.

In 2014, I made the mistake of adopting the most pathetic pit bull I could find from my local humane society, which, unbeknownst to me at the time , would shift the trajectory of my career for the next decade as I discovered a passion for animal welfare and its intersection with the field of social work. In 2021, my wife and I relocated from Los Angeles to Central Indiana where we live with our four rescue dogs. As a natural homebody, I spend most of my time doing house projects, watching football, and spending time with family/friends.

Devon Rush

Devon Rush

I am the definition of a person with lived experience if there is one. Most of my childhood was in a single parent home with a hard-working mother trapped below the poverty line. As a teen I rebelled, and I experimented with substances and due to involvement with drugs I was waved to adult court. I have been to prison twice and have spent over 11 years incarcerated away from my children and family.

During my last incarceration a switch was hit, and I realized I needed to do something different. Once I had arrived at a place of true peace all I could see was pain in the people around me. I became determined to help them heal and grow. That started the most fulfilling chapter of my life. I became a mentor and had the opportunity to help develop and facilitate multiple courses. My favorite being “A Legacy Renewed”, a fatherhood course for men locked up away from their children.

Once I was released from prison, I participated in reentry court. And not only did I complete the reentry program, but I also gained custody of my children back from DCS. I am blessed and elated to be apart the Forensic Services pillar of MHAI, this space allows me to give the best part of me and serve those that will benefit from my insights the most.

Maria Green

Maria Green

I started my career in the recovery field a few years ago when a friend of mine who was in recovery asked if I was interested in volunteering with her at a local nonprofit recovery organization. Volunteering at that organization opened a door for me to work as the Director of Marketing and Community Development. While working there I held multiple fundraisers, worked in the community to establish relationships, and helped bring awareness to mental health and substance abuse. 

I have always loved working with people, but working with those in recovery has always been a passion of mine.  I personally do not have lived experience with substance abuse, but I have many loved ones who have battled with it, some even losing their lives. I’m so grateful to be part of the IRACS team helping those individuals who otherwise might not have a second chance at recovery. Outside of work, I’m a huge family person who enjoys spending time with loved ones and my 2 dogs. I also enjoy traveling, gardening, house projects and spending time outdoors.

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