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Left: Sebastian County Judge David Hudson, chairman of the National Association of Counties’ Justice and Public Safety Committee, recog- nizes Leon Evans, chief executive officer of The Center for Health Care Services in San Antonio, for his efforts in reducing the number of men- tally ill incarcerated in Bexar County, Texas, jails. Right: AAC Chief Counsel Mark Whitmore, Crawford County Sheriff Ron Brown, Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck and Arkansas Sheriffs Association Executive Director Ronnie Baldwin are pictured with Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff Susan Pamerleau. The Arkansas contingent toured Bexar County Jail in San Antonio, a model for reducing jail and prison overcrowding.

Center meetings as well as annual conventions of International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers (IACREOT). She says the meetings on voting laws and systems standards, along with collaboration with other election officials, provided her a depth of knowledge about voting laws and voting equipment. Rep. Slinkard says, “Bringing back information from IACREOT, NACo and Election Center conventions substantially assisted my job performance and community. Also, I shared this information with other county clerks, election coordinators and state officials and employees in Arkansas.”

The Arkansas Sheriffs Association (ASA) knows well the fruits that can be produced from attending the annual convention of the National Sheriffs Association (NSA). The NSA conducts substantive seminars on law enforcement and detention topics ranging from the use of body cameras to prevention of suicides in jails. Section 14 of the Criminal Justice Reform Act, SB 692 of 2015, Act 895 of 2015, placed a cap for inmate medical expenses at Medicaid — the agreed government rate for medical care. If Sandy Horton, director of the Kansas Sheriffs Association, had not attended the annual conferences of the NSA and collaborated with Ronnie Baldwin, director of the ASA, the sheriffs, county judges and legislators in Arkansas would not even know to seek this important common-sense cap. The ASA now pays for the registration, lodging and some meals of one sheriff from a Class 1 or 2 county who attends the annual convention of the NSA. Woodruff County Sheriff Phil Reynolds was the fortunate recipient this summer for the NSA convention in Baltimore. Sheriff Reynolds reports he gained valuable insights from discussions with sheriffs nationwide from counties large and small. He said, “It was an eye opening experience, and I realize that more than likely the problem I am facing has been shared by other sheriffs in Arkansas or nationwide. There are other sheriffs to contact to draw from

COUNTY LINES, SUMMER 2015 their experience.”

There is no greater priority to county or state government than the unprecedented and continued jail and overcrowding crisis. This in part relates to diversion of the mentally ill from county jails and the criminal justice system when appropriate. These topics have been the focus of many NACo and NSA conventions in recent years. These meetings have highlighted nationally acclaimed successes in addressing prison and jail overcrowding. In particular, the programs of Bexar County, Texas, have been recognized as evidence-based ways of effectively combating behavioral health issues and jail overcrowding. Sebastian County Judge David Hudson served as chairman of NACo’s Justice and Public Safety (JPS) Committee. The JPS Committee meets with national experts to discuss important criminal justice, public safety and homeland security issues on behalf of the nation’s 3,069 counties, and it is responsible for developing NACo policy in these areas. Serving on a NACo Committee allows the county official direct access to evidence-based solutions to better serve your community and state. Judge Hudson learned in depth about these successful programs and traveled to San Antonio in 2010 to tour Bexar County’s operations. He presented Leon Evans, chief executive officer of The Center for Health Care Services in San Antonio, with recognition from NACo for the mental illness treatment programs Evans helped implement in Bexar County. Recently, several Community Mental Health directors, sheriffs, ASA Executive Director Ronnie Baldwin and I traveled to San Antonio to see the Bexar County, Texas, model of reducing jail and prison overcrowding. The programs for diversion and to address jail overcrowding in Bexar County were initially built upon Crisis Stabilization Units and Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). Following our report to a joint

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