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County Leaders Urge Funding For Mental Health Services

Three Arkansas associations of county leaders have endorsed resolutions asking the state to make it a priority to fund services for the mentally ill.

The County Judges Association of Arkansas, Arkansas Sherriffs’ Association and the Quorum Court Association of Arkansas announced Wednesday they were supporting three proposals:

-The adequate funding of behavioral health and crisis services in jails

-The establishment of regional crisis stabilization units for the mentally ill

-The implementation of crisis intervention training for the state’s law enforcement officers.

The county leaders note that in Governor Asa Hutchinson’s proposed $5.4 billion budget, there is $5 million devoted to fund three crisis stabilization units, which are 16-bed treatment centers used to divert mentally ill persons from incarceration. The state currently spends about $500 million annually on corrections, including jails and prisons.

Copyright 2016 KUAR

Chris Hickey was born and raised in Houston, Texas, spending his teenage years in Camden, Ohio. He graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, majoring in English. He got his start in public radio working as a board operator at WMUB in Oxford, Ohio during his summer and winter breaks from school. Since graduating, he has made Little Rock home. He joined KUAR in September 2011 as a production intern and has since enjoyed producing, anchoring and reporting for the station. He is the composer of KUAR's Week-In-Review Podcast theme music and the associate producer of Arts & Letters.