LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – For a long time, there has been a plan in place to open a number of crisis stabilization units across the state. A year ago the one in Central Arkansas officially opened its doors.
Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde is passionate about the work CSU does. He says it gives people, who are having a mental health issue, a place to go and a social worker to talk to instead of an inmate number in the jail.
“Folks who are in mental episode who go to the jail have more than an 80% probability of recidivism,” Judge Barry Hyde said.
According to UAMS, who runs the faculty, patients were first being treated in August 2018.
Since then, more than 500 people have gone through the doors.
“We try to divert them away from the criminal justice system, if possible,” Pulaski County Sheriff Lt. Theodore Haase said.
Lt. Haase says it starts far beyond CSU, but on the street, with law enforcement equipped with crisis intervention team training. They can spot people with mental health problems and get them where they need to be.
“If what they are doing is based on mental illness, then the best thing for them is get them into treatment and not incarceration,” said Lt. Haase.
Judge Hyde says the county has learned a lot about the program in a year, but it’s still just getting underway.