Craighead County has received a $750,000 BJA Adult Drug Court Discretionary federal grant to help enrich its county mental health court program, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day announced on October 11, 2022.
The grant, issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, was awarded over four years, beginning Oct. 1, 2022, with one year being prorated through Dec. 31, 2022.
“This grant will provide alternatives to incarceration for individuals with behavioral health issues.” – Craighead County Judge Marvin Day
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 enhance the operations of adult drug courts.
The courts meld evidence-based substance use disorder treatment with mandatory drug testing, incentives and transitional services in supervised criminal court settings to help those with substance abuse issues. The goal is to reduce repeat offenses and increase access to treatment and recovery support.
The grant will also ensure offenders needs are identified and met in efficient manner through hiring key personnel, improve the outcomes for treatment court participants by identifying specific needs and to make necessary adjustments as deemed by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Best Practice Standards.
According to information provided by the Arkansas State Legislature, 55 percent, or 14,625 Arkansas prisoners, each year have mental health needs. Of those, 55 percent are in jail or non-violent crimes.
Mid-South Health Systems, Inc., of Jonesboro, the treatment partner for the proposed grant project, conducted about 1,500 mental health screenings in the first quarter of 2022. Of those, 58 percent were those incarcerated in the Craighead County Detention Center. This indicates that offenders suffering from mental health issues are incarcerated in abundance in Jonesboro.