NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Ed Jackson (R-Jackson) today joined Madison County Sheriff John Mehr and Representative Jimmy Eldridge (R-Jackson) as Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (TDMHSAS) Commissioner Marie Williams awarded a major mental illness grant to the Madison County Criminal Justice Complex. The $3.1 million grant will go towards creating a behavioral health jail diversion program for those struggling with behavioral health needs.
Senator Jackson is Chairman of the Senate Corrections Subcommittee which oversees legislation regarding all local jails in Tennessee as well as 15 prisons which house state inmates.
“Presently, there are limited options for handling people with mental health issues who come into custody of law enforcement officers,” said Senator Jackson. “This proactive approach to help Tennesseans struggling with mental illness or substance abuse disorders will ensure better access to proper treatment and care and keep them out of our jails. This action, in turn, will make our communities safer and help alleviate overcrowding, saving taxpayer money. It was great to witness our state and local governments coming together to tackle such an important and complex issue.”
The primary goal of the TDMHSAS Pre-Arrest Diversion Infrastructure Project is to reduce or eliminate the time individuals with mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorder spend incarcerated by redirecting them from the criminal justice system to community-based treatment and supports. Key Community partners with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department include Pathways Behavioral Health, Aspell Recovery Center, Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency and the local court system.
“I am proud of the efforts our state and local government are making towards creating a safer, healthier, and more prosperous community,” Jackson concluded.