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AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S


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double bunking and increase their capacities outside preferred or accredited levels. Te Bureau of Justice reported that as of Decem- ber 2013, Arkansas prisons were at 103 percent capacity and other states’ prisons are significantly above their capacity. Yet corrections officials resist taking in more state prisoners into the state prison system — even knowing the adverse impacts on your communities and that they like other states can take in more state prisoners. Additionally, our county jails are holding approximately 200 pa-


rolees awaiting a preliminary hearing or revocation hearing by the board or their designee (that are not covered under the $28 a day jail reimbursement). Over the past year, thousands of parolees without new charges filled our county jails and the time lapse before schedul- ing and conducting parole hearings has taken months. Under Ar- kansas law, local jails are to be used for “the custody of persons accused or convicted of crimes.” See: ACA 14-14-802(a). Sheriffs, prosecu- tors and the courts should not be diverted from their priority duties under the law in order to assist the state in its administrative hear- ings processes over parol- ees not arrested under new charges. ACA 16-93-705(a) authorizes a parolee to be detained at a “suitable de- tention facility” pending an administrative preliminary parole revocation hearing by the board or their designee. ACA 16-93-705(b) explicit- ly provides if the hearing of- ficer finds there is reasonable cause that he has violated a condition of parole then the hearing examiner may order the parolee returned to the custody of the Department of Corrections for a revocation hearing before the board. Under a proper action the circuit court in a judicial district may find that absent new charges, the law does not require detaining parolees in the coun- ty jail. Also, the court may find a nearby detention facility of the state is a “suitable dentition facility” for state parolees and for remanding a parolee into the custody of the Department of Correction. A county jail at 140 percent capacity is not a suitable detention facility for holding parolees absent new charges. Finally, Arkansas Constitution, Article 19, §19 mandates: “It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide by law for the treatment of the insane.” However, the mental health system in the state of Arkansas ranks 50th among the states, according to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the 2006 and 2009 “Report of America’s Health Care System for Serious Men- tal Illness.” NAMI determined that Arkansas urgently needed evidence-based practices, crisis services, crisis stabilization units, crisis intervention teams and diversion services like those avail- able in other states. Recently, the General Assembly cut funding for Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC): cuts of $1.9


lectively 1,600 inmates and a cap should be set and re- spected by the state in order to secure public safety.


“T COUNTY LINES, FALL 2014


million as of January 1, 2014 and additional cuts of $7 million as of July 1, 2014. Tis topic was covered more fully in the article: “How Caring for the ‘Least Among Us’ Is a Matter of Public Safety” in the County Lines, Winter 2014 edition. Tis is despite the federal cases of Terry v. Hill, 232 F. Supp. 2d 934 (US Dist. E.D. Ark. 2002); and Winters v. Ark. Dept. of Health and Human Services and John Selig, et al., 491 F. 3rd 933 (8th Cir. 2007). In Terry the court found mentally ill pretrial detainees’ due process rights had been violated by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) and that delay in transfer to the pretrial detainees to the Arkansas State Hospital for evaluation and treatment along with the prolonged wait in confinement violated the U.S. Con- stitution. Te Court attributed the violations to the entire state and to the executive and legislative branches. In Winters the court noted that “no party suggests that jail is an appropriate treatment facility for a mentally ill person” and said “jails should not become our mental hospitals by default.”


AAC, ASA and the CJAA


he sheriffs of Arkansas have determined that our county jails statewide can hold col-





have been working with DHS for years now seek- ing tangible improvement. Cutting funding by almost $9 million in 2014 is clearly not progress. DHS officials initially indicated that the proposed cuts in services would not affect the services to the mentally ill in Arkan- sas due to the funding and services to be established by Medicaid expansion and the private option. Howev- er, Andy Allison, the DHS Medicaid Director at the time, acknowledged in a public meeting earlier this year that it may take years for the funding to establish the necessary services lack-


ing in Arkansas (that they would not be established overnight). Yet, the proposed cuts to CMHCs statewide went forward. DHS officials are scheduled to engage members of the Gener- al Assembly in upcoming budget hearings to their plan to pro- vide treatment for the mentally ill. It is imperative that the plan is immediately implemented by the State of Arkansas to fulfill the obligation under Arkansas Constitution, Article 19, §19, “to provide by law for the treatment of the insane.” All persons in the industry should know well that we have an urgent need for services such as inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, crisis services, crisis stabilization units, crisis intervention teams, di- version and in-jail services (like those available in other states). Please contact your legislators. Help convey the need for them to urgently provide for these priority state services and to pre- vent further improper use of local facilities and resources paid for by local taxes for state functions.


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