The justice reinvestment bill went into affect earlier this week.
The goal of the bill is to lower incarceration rates, but there’s a lot of kinks still being worked out. If the state pen hits its capacity,.new prisoners would go to county jails instead.
To help prevent over-crowding, the bill also offers $7.5 million towards behavioral health programs across the state. The Burleigh Morton Detention Center jail administrator highlights some of the pros and cons of the new law.
Sheriff Pat Heinert; Jail Administrator: “On the negative side, if the state gets over burdened with the number of inmates, and they say they’re not taking anymore inmates, those inmates once sentenced by the courts to the state then have to remain in the county local jails. On the positive side, getting some treatment programs started while they’re in the county jails prior to going to the state we can be a step ahead and get some of the people on the road to recovery.”
Sheriff Heinert also said come next biennium, he wants to push for more funding for behavioral health programs and the expansion of alcohol drug abuse rehab units.