We are pleased that Paul Rusk, chair of the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee (PP&J), has organized a joint committee meeting with the Health and Human Needs Committee (H&HN) to discuss the availability of mental health and substance abuse services, as they relate to plans for the Dane County jail.
The meeting is at the request of the League of Women Voters of Dane County and other advocates. The H&HN Committee passed a unanimous resolution, asking for the meeting. It will take place on June 6 at 5:30 in the City/County Building in room 354.
Chairperson Rusk has asked the county’s Director of Human Services Lynn Green to describe mental health and substance abuse programs offered by the county, with an emphasis on jail diversion efforts. Sheriff David Mahoney will talk about difficulties posed by the lack of “special needs” beds and the resulting inappropriate use of solitary confinement. The county’s corporation counsel will be available to discuss legal issues.
Time will be available for public comment and discussion between the committees. The LWVDC will testify, as will NAMI-Dane, Journey, and MOSES. Attendees can register in support of jail diversion programs for people with mental illness.
UPDATE: Click here for a story from Cap Times about the meeting. Check back for testimony.
UPDATE: Click here for a story from the Wisconsin State Journal about the most recent plan to renovate the jail. It includes comments from mental health advocates at the meeting.
UPDATE: Click here for an article from Cap Times with a comprehensive description of the new plan.
UPDATE: Click here for an article from Isthmus (6/22) entitled “Parisi Still Not Ready to Endorse Jail Proposal. “