JONESBORO — Craighead County has received a $750,000 BJA federal adult drug court discretionary grant to help enrich its county mental health court program, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day announced. Monday afternoon.
The grant, issued by the US Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Assistance, was awarded for four years, beginning October 1, with one year prorated through December 31, 2022.
“This grant will provide alternatives to incarceration for people with behavioral health issues,” Day said in a news release.
The Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program provides funds and technical assistance to states, state courts, local courts, and local governments to plan, implement, and improve adult drug court operations.
The courts combine evidence-based substance use disorder treatment with mandatory drug testing, incentives, and transition services in supervised criminal court settings to help people with substance abuse problems. The goal is to reduce recidivism and increase access to treatment and recovery support.
The grant will also ensure offenders’ needs are efficiently identified and met by hiring key staff, improve treatment outcomes by identifying specific needs, and make necessary adjustments as determined by the Best Practice Standards of the National Association of Drug Treatment Court Professionals.
According to information provided by the Arkansas Legislature, 55 percent, or 14,625 Arkansas prisoners, each year have mental health needs. Of those, 55 percent are in jail for non-violent crimes.
Mid-South Health Systems Inc. of Jonesboro, the treatment partner for the proposed grant project, conducted about 1,500 mental health exams in the first quarter of 2022. Of those, 58 percent were incarcerated in the Detention Center of Craighead County.
This indicates that offenders suffering from mental health problems are incarcerated in abundance in Jonesboro.