MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced a major initiative to divert those with behavioral health challenges from the criminal justice system. Building on the significant investments in mental health and addiction recovery services in the 2020 budget, the 2021 budget will include $300,000 to plan a mental health triage and restoration center.
A triage and restoration center provides services to address mental health challenges. In a center like this, individuals can access services by walking in, a referral from a community partner, or be brought by law enforcement.
Dane County announces a $300,000 investment into a Mental Health Triage and Restoration Center to address challenges inside and outside the criminal justice system. @nbc15_madison #NBC15 pic.twitter.com/WKQlQdIOUo
— Gabriella Rusk NBC15 (@GabriellaRusk) September 24, 2020
“We are now at the hard part of moving into some of the more concrete diversion programs and overhauling systems so that as a whole we are in a more just county,” said Analise Eicher, who serves as the Dane County Board Chair of the Criminal Justice Council.
County officials say local law enforcement have been looking for another option besides taking someone dealing with a mental health crisis to either a jail or an emergency room.
“The goal is to see the reduction of folks who don’t need to be in jail,” said Eicher. “They know that they are coming into contact with people who don’t need to be in either of those places.”
The project is in the early planning stages. County officials are looking to flesh out a location and what exact services the center will provide.
The County Executive’s full 2021 budget will be introduced on October 1st.
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