Task force responds to growing prison population, repeat offenses

10 months 1 week 9 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:53:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
By: Stephanie Sandoval, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - The Justice Reinvestment Task Force took a big step Wednesday when it comes to addressing mental health, substance abuse and other issues in the state. 

Gov. Eric Greitens created the task force to help confront Missouri’s trends in its criminal justice system. The task force has been working with The Council of State Governments Justice Center to closely examine criminal justice-related needs in the state and how to make better use of the department's resources with the goal of reducing repeat offenses. 

The council has conducted extensive research since July. Council Research Director Andy Barbee said one of the goals is to reduce treatment-related admissions to prison by 50 percent by fiscal year 2023. 

The council found Missouri has made significant investment in prison-based intervention and treatment for individuals. However, it found long-term outcomes for prison-based treatment are currently no better than for people who did not get treatment. Overall, the council said Missouri needs to move from prison-focused to a community-focused treatment system. 

The council recommended three policy options: address violent crime, improve behavioral health treatment resources and curb recidivism. Some of the suggestions within each option include:  

  • Improve access and quality of services available to victims of crime 
  • Increase the effectiveness of prison-based substance use treatment to reduce the number of people returning to prison 
  • Expand and strengthen behavioral health workforce 
  • Fund updates to the Missouri Department of Corrections' IT systems to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of staff 
  • Strengthen utilization and outcomes for Community Supervision Centers

The task force voted to pass all of the recommendations as is from the council. 

The plan would cost around $189 million to implement over the course of five years (2019-2023), if signed by the governor. The task force has until the end of the month to submit the recommendations to Gov. Greitens.

“I'm excited to see how the governor responds,” Sam Richardson, a writer from Moberly, said. “I think he'll respond in a positive way and I'm looking forward to being active with the state representatives and senators as it gets to the general assembly in January. And I sure hope we can pass the package this coming session.”

Sen. Kiki Curls, D-Kansas City, said she thinks this is an “awesome plan.”

“We've had issues with our correction system for the last several years and I'm glad that we have a new blueprint going forward,” she said. 

Jason Lamb, the executive director of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorney’s, said this has been a “very good process.”  

“It’s been a very thoughtful process," Lamb said. "On behalf of Missouri’s prosecutors, we've been very pleased to be involved and engaged in these discussions and we think that the right people are at the table, stakeholders from across the entire spectrum with the criminal justice system.”

A spokeswoman from the Missouri Department of Corrections says Missouri’s prison population is at an all-time high. 

“A significant number of people who are in our prisons are actually there because they committed parole violations rather than new crimes,” Karen Pojmann said.

She said the number of people who have mental health issues in prison and substance abuse issues is very high. 

“If we could address those kinds of problems, we would solve a lot of these other problems as well,” Pojmann said. 

According to the presentation, Missouri’s incarceration rate is the eighth-highest in the nation, the rate has increased by 4 percent since 2010, while the national incarceration rate has declined by 8 percent. 

Richardson said there’s a murder case in Randolph County right now that is costing the county at least $7,500 a year to house the man accused of murder.  

“When he finally goes to trial, we are going to have to pay for the cost of the change of venue jury, so we have to house them, feed and transport those folks and that money has to come out of general revenue," Richardson said. "And so, if it’s 50,000, that’s a good chunk of money just for one trial.”

Missouri is also seeing a growth in the number of female prisoners — the fastest in the country, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections.

According the National Research Center Justice Involved Women, women are nearly four times more likely to have been victim of physical or sexual abuse in childhood. Data also shows women are 20 percent more likely to have mental health problems and two times more likely to have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. 

In Missouri, 45 percent of women were sentenced to prison for the purpose of treatment in 2016, according to data from the Missouri Department of Corrections. 

“I think it’s an interesting scenario, and it’s one that I'm very happy that we are addressing with this task force,” Curls said. “It’s alarming — the rate of women that are being enrolled in a system. It’s growing at an alarming rate. I'm happy that it’s being addressed.”

Opioid overdose in Missouri has also grown at an alarming rate. Opioid overdose in Missouri has increased by 67 percent between 2012 and 2016, according to data from the Missouri Division of Behavioral Health and Department of Mental Health.

Senior Policy Advisor Steve Allen said people who engage in less than 90 days of treatment don't show nearly as much improvement, if any, than those who got more than 90 days of treatment. 

“Getting people and keeping people in treatment is a good idea,” Allen said. 

(This story has been revised with more information.)

More News

Grid
List
(CNN) - The Washington Post says Saudi Arabia's announcement about the death of contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi is not an... More >>
4 minutes ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 2:28:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY - One man is dead after being ejected from his car during a crash Saturday night. Michael... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 9:15:00 AM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
PECULIAR - Fourth generation dairy farmer Jay Fogle is one of many Missouri milk cow operators who are struggling to... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 8:45:00 AM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - One person was killed in a crash late Saturday night off Blackfoot Road and Parkside Drive, police said.... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 12:47:00 AM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
HERMANN - One person was killed and several people were injured in a crash involving a trolley, according to the... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 11:57:00 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the US is pulling out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 5:11:00 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Nineteen members of Missouri Task Force One returned to Boone County Fire Protection District headquarters Saturday morning after... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 3:16:00 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A man has been criminally charged days after a woman's body was found near Fellows Lake at... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 1:58:08 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Springfield woman who killed her live-in boyfriend with a crowbar in 2017 has been sentenced to... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 1:48:36 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A restored St. Louis prairie of native grasses and flowers is in bloom, but the nature... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 8:50:24 AM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke about health care in Columbia on Friday at Laborers Local 955, as part of... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:35:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - After realizing the underrepresentation of Hispanic business owners in mid-Missouri, three Hispanic professionals established a group of 12... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - This is the last week of the regular season and it's a cold one. Our game of... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:20:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA - Two Midwest companies issued separate food recalls this week for bacterial contamination concerns. Hy-Vee said its supplier,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 4:53:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN (AP) — Toxicology tests show that a boater was drunk when he slammed into a bluff at Missouri's Lake... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:41:35 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Legion of Black Collegians and the FourFront Marginalized Student Council held a solidarity walk Friday to show... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA), along with multiple medical associations, reaffirmed their opposition to the three... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:50:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For the fourth consecutive year, Project Homeless Connect provided services Friday for people who are experiencing homelessness... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
3pm 57°
4pm 58°
5pm 57°
6pm 55°