Franken seeks to improve access to mental health care in the criminal justice system
By Zac Humphrey
ST. PAUL, Minnesota: U.S. Senator Al Franken (D) seeks to expand federal funding for mental health programs in prisons and jails in a new bill. The federal government has funded training for courts and law enforcement with respect to mental health issues since 2004, but this has only been geared toward specialized units. Franken wants to expand this to all law enforcement officers. The bill would also fund treatment for veterans and work to increase services provided to people leaving jail or prison.
Franken has said that access to better mental health care could cut expenses in the criminal justice system and minimize the number of re-offenders. The bill is requesting $40 million to fund these efforts. A companion bill is being introduced in the U.S. House by Richard Nugent (R).