Governor Visits Arkansas’s First Crisis Stabilization Unit

FORT SMITH — When Governor Asa Hutchinson signed Justice Reinvestment legislation last year, he established the nation’s first statewide network of specialized treatment facilities so that people with mental illnesses can be diverted from jail. To understand what it is like to be treated at these new facilities, the Governor recently sat down and spoke with a man who has experienced one firsthand.

Governor Hutchinson met with Richard King, a Navy veteran who served in the late 1960’s and now lives with bipolar disorder. When King experienced a mental health crisis earlier this year, he was taken first to the local hospital, then to the Sebastian County Adult Detention Center, and finally to the place where he received the treatment he truly needed–the Sebastian County Five West Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU).

“I signed Justice Reinvestment legislation to better serve people struggling with mental illnesses,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Hearing Mr. King describe the confusion and frustration he felt at the jail, and the stigma of violence that’s often associated with mental illnesses, opened my eyes to the realities that many people in our state face. His story illustrates that jail doesn’t work as a treatment center, but that proper care in a place like a CSU does, and it gives me great hope in the future success of these units.”    MORE

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