Idaho seeks to reduce crime by investing in drug treatment and mental health services

Wednesday August 3, 2022

Boise, Idaho – The State of Idaho is taking steps to make Idaho safer and save taxpayer dollars by increasing drug treatment and mental health services in Idaho communities as part of Governor Brad Little’s “Leading Idaho” plan.

Through the new Pre-prosecution Diversion Grant Program, the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) is offering $2.5 million worth of funding to state and local government agencies. The money will be used to help people accused of nonviolent crimes avoid prosecution by addressing the mental health and substance-use disorders that are driving their criminal behavior.

“Idaho is made an even better place to live when we can improve safety in communities across our great state,” Governor Little said. “My ‘Leading Idaho’ plan for enhanced behavioral health resources for Idahoans is making Idaho safer while helping those in need and saving taxpayer dollars in the long run.”

“This program will reduce crime, help people turn around their lives and save taxpayer dollars,” says IDOC Director Josh Tewalt. “By investing in drug treatment and mental health services on the front end we can avoid spending money on prosecution, incarceration and community supervision on the back end.”

People who successfully complete a program funded by a Pre-prosecution Diversion Grant will also avoid the stigma of having a criminal record, which can make it more difficult to get a job and find housing.

The Pre-prosecution Diversion Grant Program was a recommendation of the three-branch Behavioral Health Council. Governor Little adopted the recommendation as part of his Leading Idaho plan which expanded behavioral health resources by $50 million in Idaho. The Governor's request was fully funded by the Legislature and included in IDOC budget.

More information about the program, including how local and state agencies can apply for a grant, is available here.

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