Historic City News was informed today that President Trump has signed into law a bill introduced in the US House by Representative John Rutherford of Jacksonville. This new law expands access to mental health services for individuals leaving the prison system, providing a “Continuity of Care” for those at risk of recidivism.
Representative Rutherford, the former sheriff of Duval County, told reporters that he was proud to introduce the “Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act of 2020”, co-introduced by Maryland Representative David Trone.
“Throughout my time in law enforcement, I saw many individuals re-offend time and time again with the same offenses involving substance abuse and mental health issues,” said Rep. Rutherford. “Those exiting the prison system face numerous challenges as they go back to their communities, often with little or no support.”
Rutherford believes that mental health and addiction support, during and after incarceration, will save lives, save money, and reduce crime and recidivism. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 in 7 individuals incarcerated in state and federal prisons and 1 in 4 individuals in jails self-reported experiences of serious psychological distress.
“We are facing a mental health crisis that has only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, and incarcerated populations are bearing the brunt of it due to the lack of social distancing and safety measures,” said Rep. Trone. “Every American deserves access to high-quality mental health care, and this bill will help us make this a reality by ensuring that incarcerated individuals can access treatment should they need it.”
The Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act will allow law enforcement to partner with mental health providers to give incarcerated individuals access to treatment, counseling, and other transition services as they reenter their communities.
The Senate version of this legislation was introduced By Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Richard Blumenthal (D-RI).