Judge pushing for mental health treatment instead of jail time

Local News

FAULKNER COUNTY, Ark. — A district judge in Faulkner County is trying something new in an attempt to reduce jail overcrowding.

Judge Chris Carnahan is known for his efforts to reduce the statewide issue. His newest program involves mental health counseling.

“About 44 percent of the people in jail have some type of behavior or mental health issue,” explained Judge Carnahan.

The program is pretty simple and will target low-level offenders only. If he thinks someone fits the program they will have an opportunity to do mental health counseling in lieu of a bond and jail time. Carnahan said if they complete the program there is also the potential that their charges will be dropped as well.

“With this new program is to prioritize people with mental or behavioral health issues give them an opportunity to sign up with a provider get those issues addressed.”

Carnahan has been worked to find new ways to reduce jail overcrowding in Faulkner County.

“It is really a very very tough situation we are in,” explained the Faulkner County Sheriff Tim Ryals.

Sheriff Ryals said his department is always in support of reducing the number of people incarcerated.

This program has only been in effect for one week.

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