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Increase Access to Treatment Services in County Jails

TAKE ACTIONIncrease Access to Treatment Services in County Jails

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Recent data shows that the majority of individuals cycling through New Hampshire's criminal justice system experience Substance Use Disorder, mental illness, or both. Inconsistent screening and treatment across the state's county jails prevent many incarcerated individuals from receiving necessary treatment services to address their substance use and mental health challenges and stay out of the criminal justice system. As a result, recidivism rates rise, perpetuating a costly cycle of incarceration that harms individuals, county jails and taxpayers.

SB 508 takes steps to reduce recidivism in New Hampshire's criminal justice system by helping incarcerated individuals access the substance use and mental health treatment services they need.

About the Bill

SB 508 would increase access to substance use and mental health screening and treatment for individuals in New Hampshire's criminal justice system. It would do this in two main ways:

  1. Standardized screening tools for assessment: The bill would require county jails to use validated, effective screening tools to assess individuals' substance use and mental health history and needs. This would help identify individuals with substance use and mental health concerns so that they can receive needed treatment and support.
  2. Expanded eligibility for treatment providers: The bill would allow more treatment providers to offer case management and coordination services to incarcerated individuals who are preparing for re-entry into the community. This would help ensure that they can access necessary treatment services during incarceration and after release.

SB 508 would reduce criminal recidivism, save taxpayer dollars, and help New Hampshire overcome the ongoing addiction and mental health crises.

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Bill Status

SB 508 unanimously passed the Senate and also passed the House of Representatives with an unrelated amendment. Since the bill was amended by the House, it will get sent back to the Senate for review before it is sent to the Governor. The Senate has three options: approve the bill with the House's amendments, reject the bill, or work through differences in a Committee of Conference.

Learn more about what to expect with a Committee of Conference by clicking the button below.

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