Corrections Budget Passes Senate

Bismark Tribune

By Nick Smith

Senate members passed a Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation budget with several amendments, including funding for the behavioral health program spending as part of an effort at criminal justice reform.

Senate Bill 2015 passed the Senate on Monday by a 42-4 vote.

The DOCR budget provides $7 million in funding and authorization for six full-time staff for the Department of Human Services to implement a community behavioral health program for services such as conditions for parole and sentencing alternatives.

An additional $500,000 is included for contracting with a public or private entity to implement a strategic plan for increasing availability of behavioral health services across the state.

The behavioral health items placed in the DOCR budget were originally part of Senate Bill 2274, which was no longer deemed necessary and dropped after a 0-46 vote Monday.

In the House this week, another reform bill relating lawmakers’ interim work with the nonpartisan Council of State Governments Justice Center, will be voted upon. House Bill 1041 deals with a series of changes to state law including various penalties in statute.