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