By The Council of State Governments Justice Center Staff
On January 3, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (pictured below) delivered his State of the State address, highlighting progress on a number of fronts, including efforts to combat the state’s behavioral health crisis.
He touted the success of Free Through Recovery, an innovative behavioral health program for people who have mental illnesses, substance addictions, or co-occurring mental illnesses and substance addictions. Through this program, community-based agencies provide a range of services including comprehensive care planning, linking participants to services, peer recovery supports, and facilitating communication among treatment teams.
Free Through Recovery has served 500 people thus far, including Jyssica Noble, a woman whose “struggles with opioid addiction landed her in jail, left her homeless, and brought her to the brink of death,” Gov. Burgum said. He applauded Noble’s success in the program and recognized her “courage and commitment.” The governor and First Lady Kathryn Burgum learned about Noble’s struggles firsthand during a conversation with her as a part of the Face to Face initiative, a national call to action encouraging policymakers to personally engage with people who are closest to the correctional system.
Free Through Recovery was created as a result of 2017 Justice Reinvestment legislation that allowed the state to appropriate $7 million from the general fund to improve behavioral health treatment for people in the criminal justice system.
“Justice Reinvestment is just one great example of the power of reinventing government,” Gov. Burgum said in his address.