In a new effort in Colorado, stemming from millions of dollars in revenue from marijuana tax, police agencies are working to move people away from jail. Officers are doing their best to help those who are addicted to drugs or who are mentally ill to keep them out of jail and instead steer them towards rehab facilities, housing and treatment facilities. The approach is being used in 10 municipalities across the state.
The 10 municipalities will divide $21.5 million in aid from the state in an effort to make high-crime areas safer. The money will be used to finance rehabilitation or housing programs for addicts and the mentally ill for periods of three to five years instead of incarcerating them. This is an initial trial of the new program. A decision regarding continuing the program or not will be made within the coming years.
The aid from the state will help to pay for a litany of different services, including some of the following:
- Hiring case managers
- Inserting mental health professionals into patrol cars
- Pay former addicts who have attained sobriety to counsel addicts
- Counseling for people with mental health issues
- Prediversion services
Law enforcement officials across the 10 municipalities expressed their excitement for the program and appreciation for the state aid, all of which comes from taxes levied on the legal sale of marijuana.
Facing criminal charges for drugs or other crimes in Colorado can be daunting. This is a situation you should never handle on your own. You should always defend your rights in a criminal case, and an attorney can provide the advice and guidance you need.
Source: The Denver Post, “Colorado police agencies, armed with $21M in marijuana tax revenue, try to steer mentally ill, drug addicted away from jail,” Jan. 11, 2018