Committee discusses adding mental health services to Washington County jail

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Criminal Justice Coordination Committee is working to provide mental health services to the Washington County Jail.

Members are discussing adding several services to the prison, such as a mental health court and mental health ward within the facility – hoping this is one step to address overcrowding in the future.

“The last statistic I saw was that 90% of people who got out of prison have returned, so the current average population is 12 times that of prison,” said Nick Robbins, co-chair of the Criminal Justice Coordination Committee and CEO of Returning. home company

Robbins said one of the first ways to deal with a revolving door inside a prison could be to add a mental health court.

“What we’re seeing more and more apparitions is more and more specialized courts, so it’s somewhat revisionist but still meets the expectations of the judicial system,” he said.

Another source could be the mental health ward inside the prison.

“Putting it into a therapeutic setting rather than a punitive setting can lead to better outcomes and stabilization prior to release,” Robbins said.

Aside from mental health, Washington County District Attorney Matt Dorette said finding ways to keep people out of prison in the first place has become a priority in the county, specifically when dealing with overcrowding.

“The alternative is to add prison space, and I think everyone has come to the conclusion that this is a last resort,” Dorit said.

Robbins said investing in the mental health of inmates and detainees not only keeps them out of prison, but also builds a better future.

We were really surprised at how great these people are and keep going with jobs and paying rent, doing all the things they’ve been told their whole life they can’t do.”

Nick Robbins, Co-Chair, Criminal Justice Coordination Committee; CEO of Returning Home Inc.

Robbins said the committee is discussing these plans and plans to bring them to the quorum court by the end of the year.

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