Tag Archives: regional

State Opens First ‘Recovery Court’ for Prisoners

Next month, in the quiet Morgan County city of Wartburg, the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, along with the Tennessee Department of Correction, will open what the state says is the nation’s first statewide residential Recovery Court, reports the News Sentinel.
The 24-hour, 100-bed facility, which opens its doors Aug. 1, will allow the state to divert people with substance abuse or mental health issues from prison beds, with the hope of halting the cycle of hospitalization, incarceration and homelessness that plagues many.
In a November budget hearing meeting with Gov. Bill Haslam, Mental Health Commissioner Doug Varney laid out such a plan as being a humane and cost-effective way to deal with what he sees as one of the state’s biggest problems. In 2011, he told Haslam, for the first time ever, the state saw more people seeking treatment for narcotics addiction than for alcoholism — and the state’s system was sorely taxed.
“A large number of people in jails … their core problem is really drug abuse,” he said. Such an intensive program could “change their (lives) before they ever get that far.”
TDOC estimates the average daily cost to house a prison inmate at just more than $67. The Recovery Court residential program, even being more service-intensive than existing programs, will cost an average of $35 per person per day, the state said. But it also will, in theory, save money by reducing recidivism — “repeat offenders” — by using “evidence-based” programs “proven to have a larger impact on reducing recidivism.”
The state said studies have shown the recidivism rate for people who participate in such programs is one-third that of those who don’t.
However, it should not been taken as the state going “soft on crime,” TDOC Commissioner Derek Schofield said.
“What it says is that we’re going to place people in the best option to ensure they don’t re-offend. But also, we’re going to make sure we have a prison bed available for people who commit violent offenses that harm our communities,” he said.

ECD Has Plans, Shuffles Staff

News release from Department of Economic and Community Development:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty today announced the release of nine regional strategic plans outlining how ECD’s field staff will lead new economic development efforts in their regions, support existing networks of local organizations and serve as an effective conduit between the department and regional stakeholders. The plans can be viewed at http://tn.gov/ecd/.

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Haslam, Roe Hand Out Fed Funds, Predict Flow to Falter in Days Ahead

A report from Hank Hayes:
Federal grant dollars were being handed out across Northeast Tennessee Thursday, and recipients were smiling. But a number of those smiles might not be there next year because of anticipated federal government spending cuts, Gov. Bill Haslam predicted.
“The grants we saw today will be harder to come by,” Haslam, a Republican, said after announcing a $145,026 federally funded grant to East Tennessee State University for a habitat at the Gray Fossil Site. “I don’t know that for a fact, but I think a lot of the discretionary programs in federal government, I’m betting, are going to have a cutback. I’m not saying programs like this are going to go away, but I think they will be a lot harder to come by.”
Earlier in the day at the Farm House Gallery and Gardens in Unicoi, about $3.3 million in federal grants and loans were being doled out to 14 projects ranging from water line replacements to buying a new emergency service vehicle.

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