mental health

In an effort to combat jail overcrowding and to prevent recidivism, District Judge Chris Carnahan started a program that offers mental health services in lieu of bond payments.

“I’ve found, since I became [a] judge, that we typically have several persons that are in need of mental health treatment who have allegedly committed low-level crimes. Many are homeless or unemployed, [and] they are often without means of paying the standard minimum bond required to secure their presence for trial,” Carnahan said.

Mental health screening is now available to nonviolent offenders charged in Conway and Faulkner County district courts with help from the Harbor House and with support from the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office.

Individuals who are screened and accepted by the Harbor House now have the opportunity to undergo mental health treatment instead of having to pay a bond to avoid jail time while awaiting adjudication. While the Harbor House is a facility that serves women, the mental health program also extends to male offenders, Division II Head District Court Clerk Holly Beck said.

Ensuring residents suffering with mental illnesses receive treatment is a better option from simply locking up accused offenders, Carnahan said.

“I’m willing to allow properly screened individuals to get professional medical and psychiatric treatment for themselves instead of taking up jail space,” he said.

Sheriff Tim Ryals and other jail staff administrators support the initiative.

“Judge Carnahan’s partnership with Harbor House will be a great benefit to those who are in need of the services provided, as well as offer a method of reducing the jail’s population,” FCSO spokesman Erinn Stone on behalf of sheriff’s office and Faulkner County Detention Center administrators. “We have seen a correlation between recidivism, or repeat offenders, and mental health. The trend is not only occurring locally, but statewide and nationally.”

By providing this resource to county residents, FCSO officials said they hope residents will receive services that were previously unavailable to them that will help better their lives.

“Gov. Asa Hutchinson started a pilot program with the Crisis Stabilization Units, but their program leaves a gap as the CSUs are unable to accept a person with criminal charges,” Stone said. “This new partnership with Harbor House will allow an arrestee to be connected to valuable resources that will hopefully break the cycle.”

The district court program does not affect an individual’s pending case. Instead, the defendant posts “a signature bond,” mandating they remain under the Harbor House’s care, or its referral network’s care. Should an accused offender violate the agreement, they would return to jail, Carnahan said.

“This program does not affect the potential punishment if a defendant is found guilty, because I believe that competent people are responsible for their actions,” Carnahan said. “It does mean that we are addressing mental health while aiding Sheriff Ryals with overcrowding based solely on a pretrial accusation.”

The mental health program extends to all those accused of a nonviolent, misdemeanor offense, such as a public intoxication, criminal trespass or disorderly conduct charge.

The district judge said he believes the program will have a strong impact across the county. Knowing that some individuals may not have insurance to help cover treatment costs, Carnahan said Harbor House representatives would be able to offer some relief for those in need.

“Many of the folks I know will be touched by this pilot program are without insurance or a provider,” he said. “Harbour House will help get that lined up and also help identify persons who may qualify for reduced cost of services.”

The court will hold monthly review sessions for each individual who posts the mental health signature bond to evaluate their progress.

Officials said the review process will comply with HIPPA regulations.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

(3) comments

ScareBear

I'm glad I was first because I'm a little fuzzy on a couple things that would be interpreted by a court in the future anyway

Worst case scenario comes first, because it's a doozy plausible reality:

What sort of residency category would apply to an accused found guilty and was then able to produce convincing material and is admitted to the Harbor House as a condition of release, reduced sentenced or dropped charge? Would this be a penal residence, would the patient-convicts be granted leave if even on a restrictive basis, or a full-time internal occupation?

These alone would all place powers or place limits to powers on current participating organizations ie Harbor House. For example: Being given this as an option in court as a mandatory sentence would constitute both decide a voluntary and involuntary commitment in a judicial and medical court. Being a voluntary selection for institution to comply treatment instead of accepting the traditional fate thereby leaves open the patient's ability to take one's leave or legal obligation to accept an unchallengable biased medical opinion that's exclusive to Harbor House personnel and facility monitoring faculties in place. But being technically an involuntary commitment removes the power completely from the convict-patient to ever be seriously considered for release or inquiry for a more adept experienced institution and every testimony in any future cross reference and treatment plan would again be entirely biased even if it was incorrect, grossly under-resourced or if his behavioral assessments were misinterpreted and mischaracterizes etc. So my question is: Would there be a conditional period of limitation for servitude to be obliged to the patient-convict before his continued conditional compliance is no longer required or at least no longer considered indisputable. Treatments also involve Electroconvulsive Therapy also, usually that's optional but again this pilot is vague

Would the judge(s) presiding have a list of acceptable low-level crimes, or would this admissability be determined per hearing by the judge, requested of course by the representative or defendant. And this being available to nonviolent offenders exclusively or for those accused in non violent offenses.

When theyre referring to people with mental problems etc., are they then referring to unargued testimonies of public nuisances or found-guilty erratic nuisances; or strictly people on-record for having a diagnosed psychosocial or inhibiting disability (Or even physically impaired persons with psychosocial defects if also neglected). My correlating question is can a self-compensated person challenge the traditional penal avenue with a screening evaluation if having produced a questionable medical history, or would this be opted only for those who are recipient of a state pension? I ask this because this can greatly affect a patient-convicts rehire status within the private sectors as well as veterans suffering from PTSD

Not complying with treatment and medicines is by HIPAA a guaranteed right. I can see the compassion for the willingness to renegotiate certain peoples on the dockets, and being free as beneficiaries then they're still criminals and they (if the medical court decided they no longer need control screening for involuntary inpatient care) being low level offenders may not be aware of a statute or technicality clause , or B they might know they broke the law. SO:

They as problematic juveniles or adult frequent nuisances inconveniences being redirected to medical evaluations or other appropriate counsel functions as an opted alternative paving a road to easier restitution in a future of rabblerousing recieving a dropped charge if they follow the doctors orders

OR would they be offered a curriculum and a chance to pass an exam oriented toward understanding legal moral demeanors etc. This might be critical because a lack understanding content could dictate a flaw in its implement methodology or just be an indicator that an inappropriate treatment was pursued in the happy home. All else gets slapped with the trial and the conviction having no or little prior unrelated history OR that the untreated or even treated legally crazy or disturbed person breaking the low level law being redirected to the medical/counsel alternative as an option and receiving a reduced/dropped sentence also not being charged or fined in spite of every other non qualifying person who is inversely restitutable and a listed documented offender with a searchable record of consequence, but the patient-convict will have been demerited with a mental housing reference of an undefined type except criminal

Because of this decision, I think it's important to officially interpret " (thanks to channel 4s article) persons of behavioral issues or mental disorders" especially because not all of them are socially nonfunctional or productively decapacitated/out of the work force AND likewise unknown among the employed due to privacy laws

More importantly, because of this huge decision especially utilized to reduce jail occupation, it cannot be tolerated by all citizens of Faulkner County to bestow the impaired, errant misguided or miscreant ruffian etc be the target for amnesty. Therefore I think it would be more a best practice to consider reducing charges among lower level offenders of working society especially without behavioral issues or deficits as well as not deploying maximum penalties and detainment periods, all this combined with more loosely granted Own Recognizance arraignments for any or all lesser-level flight risk who stand accused...that would especially expedite due process, speedy up the trials AND greatly reduce occupancy of those who are not OR'd or deemed more appropriate to be detained in the general inmate population

I mean I can appreciate the compassion for the lesser capable or broken/damaged peoples, but when they're breaking the law they're breaking the law and while they do need direction on acceptable public demeanor, we all do or have needed it at some point

clearly retarded people I can see being granted pardon but that's not what the article said

ScareBear

I'm aware of the typos, it won't let me delete or edit my comments

I wish I could tho

ScareBear

Now I gotta be the first one to say stuff and again I'm glad I succeeded because I'm a little fuzzy on a couple things that would be interpreted or revealed in the future anyway

Low level criminals, would this strictly apply to nonviolent crimes or things of a lesser extrainfringement scale altogether ie being caught peeing visibly on a tree and after being reported and later identified then catching an indecency charge or whatever.

Treatments for these behavioral breaches obviously have a jail time max-penalty and/or fine and/or treatment/probation etc., but this max-penalty is not the required sentence and a reduction in penalty eg anger management or counseling/counsel housing etc. obviously calls the redefined charges etc. My next question:

When theyre referring to peoples with mental disturbances granted mental treatment options, os that strictly people receiving compensation or also allowed for otherwise on-record for having a diagnosed psychosocial or inhibiting disability (Or even physically impaired persons with psychosocial defects if also neglected). I ask this because currently the behavioral issue is currently also known as history of delinquencies and infractions.

My next question: Relieving pressure off of the intake of detainees by conducting an alternate sentence in the Harbor House's pilot program would then obviously require its regulated residency. Would this residency then be a full-scale house arrest or would the detained patient be granted some sort of leave if even on a restricted basis? I ask this because not I'll only would this be considered a mandatory compliance but if would also be potentially a total involuntary commitment in spite of its optional guise--THAT fact still removes power from the patient to seek an outside medical professional and even a more desirable facility as well as legally empowers (in this case) The Harbor House to keep the patient-convict from being released even if an acceptable sentence is served. As a correlation I also ask if the judge would be empowered and if so comelled to a name a predetermined max evaluation/treatment course for house arrest and name an irrefutable release date in spite of the involuntary commitment loopholes (that would stop a transfer, bad things happen to inpatient residents and staff alike actually it's a whole new storm altogether)

And not complying with meds and doing their treatments is by HIPAA a guaranteed right. I can see the compassion for the willingness to renegotiate certain peoples on the dockets, and being free as beneficiaries then they're still criminals and they (if the medical court decided they no longer need control screening for involuntary inpatient care) being low level offenders may not be aware of a statute or technicality clause , or B they being freed prior to being charger might know they broke the law. SO:

They as problematic juveniles or adult frequent nuisances inconveniences being redirected to medical evaluations or other appropriate counsel functions as an opted alternative paving a road to easier restitution in a future of rabblerousing and just recieving a dropped charge after the maximum consequence being--passing a cake curriculum in a happy home for bad boys when all else gets slapped with the trial and the conviction having no or little prior unrelated history..

OR:

The untreated or even treated legally crazy or disturbed person breaking the low level law being redirected to the medical/counsel alternative as an option and receiving a reduced/dropped sentence also not being charged or fined in spite of every other non qualifying person who is inversely restitutable and a listed documented offender with a searchable record of consequence.

Because of this decision, I think it's important to officially interpret "persons of behavioral issues or mental disorders" especially because not all of them socially nonfunctional or productively decapacitated/out of the work force AND likewise unknown among the employed due to the privacy laws

More importantly, because of this huge decision especially utilized to reduce jail occupation, it cannot be tolerated by all citizens of Faulkner County to bestow the impaired, errant misguided or miscreant ruffian etc as the intended target for amnesty. Therefore I think it would be more a best practice to consider reducing charges among lower level offenders of working society especially without behavioral issues or deficits as well as not deploying maximum penalties and detainment periods, all this combined with more loosely granted Own Recognizance arraignments for any or all lesser-level flight risk who stand accused would especially expedite due process and speedy trials AND greatly reduce occupancy of those who are not OR'd or deemed more appropriate to be detained in the general inmate population

I mean I can appreciate the compassion for the lesser capable or broken/damaged peoples, but when they're breaking the law they're breaking the law and while they do need direction on acceptable public demeanor, we all do or have needed it at some point

clearly retarded people I can see being granted pardon but that's not what the article said. But this literally can snowball-avalanche a minor issue into losing one's power of attorney due to a medical technicality and lets say a future judge not realizing any testimony but a technicality and a biased unchallenged medical opinion in a time when this was unpioneered

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