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South Dakota task force on mental health recommends reforms to governor

Nov. 14, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota task force studying mental health and criminal justice today submitted a report with 15 recommendations for consideration by Gov. Dennis Daugaard and the Legislature. Expanding training and tools for law enforcement, standardizing mental health screenings in jails, and increasing opportunities to divert individuals with mental illness to treatment are among the task force’s recommendations.

The task force’s work was funded through a $302,500 grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The Crime and Justice Institute at CRJ, which assisted the Governor and Chief Justice with recent adult and juvenile criminal justice reforms, provided technical assistance.

The task force’s list of recommendations includes:

-          Expanding Crisis Intervention Team training;

-          Establishing a grant program for counties and regions to set up crisis response options;

-          Identifying mental illness through timely mental health screenings;

-          Providing training to criminal justice stakeholders on options to de-escalate crises and divert people safely into treatment in the community;

-          Piloting a mental health court in Pennington County; and

-          Expediting completion of court-ordered competency evaluations.

To read the full press release, click here.

To read the task force’s full report, click here.