McLean County is enlisting the aid of Illinois State University and the National Institute of Corrections to reduce the cost of managing its rising population of mentally ill inmates. ISU has provided the McLean County Justice Department with monthly inmate data analysis reports for the last four years.
NIC consultants Kenneth Ray and Mark Goldman will use that data as well as their own analysis of the County's facilities to help the community best leverage its resources rather than building more jails or doing nothing. NIC consultant Ray says it is more "politically advantageous" to build jails. He calls McLean County's holistic approach to the issue which involves assessment, analysis, and systemic change "refreshing."
Ray says the cost of the seven-month assessment by the NIC will "not cost the county a dime," and is covered by the organization. McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery says the results of the reports will help the county better serve its mentally ill inmates. Sheriff Emery says Mclean County spends $300,000 dollars on care and medication per inmate to manage its growing mentally ill population.
Ray says the county has three options: Do nothing, build more jails or leverage community resources. The best solution will be a hybrid of those options according to Ray. The monthly report provided by ISU costs $27,000 dollars annually --a cost four times less than a private company-- says ISU professor Dr. Frank Beck, who heads the compilation of the reports. The services of the NIC come at no cost to the community and covered by the Department of Justice.
Support Your Public Radio Station