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Supervisors debate use of mental health reserve fund

  One million dollars sits in a reserve fund set aside to serve prisoners with mental health needs who have been released from state prison.

  The Plumas County Board of Supervisors wants to spend the money, but some questions need to be answered first.

  During their Aug. 6 meeting, the supervisors discussed the origin of the funds and what restrictions could impact their use.

  The money is currently in a reserve fund for Assembly Bill 109 clients (individuals released from the state to local jurisdictions), but the supervisors would like to expand the use.

  “Maybe it could be used more broadly,” said Supervisor Jon Kennedy.

  He suggested that the reserve be redefined to “reducing recidivism,” which would allow the money to also be used for inmates in the county jail and those on probation.

  Auditor Roberta Allen said the source of the revenue needed to be determined to ensure that there weren’t restrictions on the money.

  Kennedy agreed, saying that the board needed to define the source of revenues and the needs.

  Mental Health Director Kimball Pier said that she sees a need to better prepare inmates for success when they are released. She cited employment and housing as critical components.

  She suggested that partial funding of a portable classroom at the jail, as well as a halfway house, might be areas to consider.

  Supervisors Kennedy and Lori Simpson will work with Pier and others to bring back a proposal for how to allocate the money.

Mental Health First Aid class

  “We are bringing Mental Health First Aid to Plumas County,” Pier told the supervisors.

  The free two-day workshop trains people on how to communicate with those who have mental health issues.

  The training is set for Sept. 16 – 17. More details will be released as they become available.

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