Idaho seeks to reduce crime by investing in addiction treatment and mental health services

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Boise, Idaho – The State of Idaho is taking steps to make Idaho safer and save taxpayers money by increasing addiction treatment and mental health services in Idaho communities across the part of Gov. Brad Little’s “Leading Idaho” plan.

Through the new Pre-Prosecution Diversion Grant Program, the Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) is providing $2.5 million in funding to state and local government agencies. The money will be used to help those charged with non-violent crimes avoid prosecution by addressing the mental health and substance abuse disorders that drive their criminal behavior.

“Idaho becomes an even better place to live when we can make communities safer in our great state,” Governor Little said. “My ‘Leading Idaho’ plan to improve behavioral health resources for Idahoans is making Idaho safer while helping those in need and saving taxpayers money in the long run.”

“This program will reduce crime, help people turn their lives around and save taxpayers money,” said Josh Tewalt, Director of IDOC. “By investing in drug treatment and mental health services upstream, we can avoid spending money on prosecutions, incarceration and community supervision downstream.”

People who successfully complete a program funded by a Pre-Prosecution Diversion Grant will also avoid the stigma of having a criminal record, which can make it harder to get a job and find housing.

The Pre-Prosecution Diversion Grant Program was a recommendation of the Tri-Branch Behavioral Health Council. Governor Little adopted the recommendation as part of his Leading Idaho plan that expanded behavioral health resources by $50 million in Idaho. The governor’s request was fully funded by the legislature and included in the IDOC budget.

More information about the program, including how local and national agencies can apply for a grant, is available here.

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