State directors and staff in the fields of public safety, mental health, social services, and corrections are rolling out implementations of the state Justice Reinvestment Initiative. It aims to turn around Missouri’s rising incarceration rates by investing in treatment and other services rather than in prisons.
The program is testing whether participation in educational opportunities increases after access to financial aid for incarcerated adults is expanded. It is also examining how waiving the restriction on providing Pell Grants to individuals incarcerated in federal or state prisons influences academic and life outcomes.
While governors set the tone and the general direction of a state’s destiny, it is the legislature they work with — independent and made of dozens of independent minds — that controls the flow of the conversation.
Sheriff Steve Tompkins recently told a roomful of public officials and inmates that the PEACE unit—an acronym for “Positive Energy Always Creates Elevation”—is part of an effort to reshape the way people are treated behind bars.
To maximize the value of public-private partnerships, we don’t just need new tools or experiments but new models for using assets and expertise in different sectors. We need to bring that capacity to public problems.
A package of bills aimed at raising the age Michigan residents can be tried as adults passed out of a House committee Wednesday. Under current Michigan law, 17-year-olds are automatically tried as adults. The bill package would raise that age to 18 years of age.
The new, $52 million jail opened this fall in Moorhead with 209 beds. Its 18-bed behavioral health unit is in the back of the building. Soundproofing helps keep the noise down, and inmates housed there can get mental health care without leaving the unit.
Under new guidelines, states will be able to apply for the ability to use Medicaid reimbursement for psychiatric care provided in treatment facilities with more than 16 beds, which is currently prohibited by the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion.
Of the 44 cases the unit responded to between July and October, only four resulted in hospitalization. None of the calls resulted in someone being taken to jail.
“People that are healthy are more likely to be able to find work,” said Tom Betti, press secretary for the Ohio Department of Medicaid. “In the long run that saves taxpayer dollars. They are healthier, employed and not reincarcerated.”