In an effort to pursue restorative justice and the treatment of incarceration, legislation to ensure behavioral health assessments of Kentucky’s forensic population within 72 hours of arrest has been passed by the Judiciary Committee of the Room Wednesday.
Senate Bill 90, sponsored by Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Whitney Westerfield, aims to ensure that an individual’s needs are assessed upon arrest to determine the best course of action. The bill would launch a pilot program in 10 Kentucky counties to require a mental and/or behavioral health assessment early in the process when an individual is charged with a Class D felony.
With the assessment, done by a provider from a rotating list, would decide if treatment was a more appropriate solution than incarceration to help someone with substance use disorder. Within 30 days of the treatment course, the individual would receive a professional evaluation. Within 10 days of this assessment, the treatment provider would work with the Kentucky Workforce Cabinet to be placed in vocational training or employment.
Senate Bill 90 passed the committee unanimously and is now before the full House for consideration.