Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Governor Bevin proposes deep budget cuts, but would preserve social workers, law enforcement and public defenders

Yes Governor Bevin, it is crazy! 
“We have folks who are working (in prisons) for 12 hours on 12 hours on 12 hours on 12 hours. It’s crazy,” the governor said. “We have to offset some of that.”
Please consider the need for Kentucky to amend it's antiquated mental health law! Kentucky needs HB94 to pass ... allowing "treatment before tragedy" and reducing the need for law enforcement, criminal justice, public defenders and prison cells! Small wonder Kentucky prison's staff has such a high turn over, they are the new asylums ... plus the prisoners have the right to refuse treatment. 

This advocacy blog was founded in 2010, on the fact that Kentucky's prison system was growing faster than any other state, despite the fact that crime was down. Too often people with serious mental illnesses lack insight to their illness and become trapped, unable to move forward due to their civil liberties and the a law that could restore a person's capacity for informed consent "before" they sink into acute psychosis and commit crimes. "Before" they self-medicate and "before" they end up homeless, dying on the streets. And, "Before" they become a law enforcement problem!

My question is, if Kentucky increases the number of public defenders ... is there a possibility for "Tim's Law"? After all Governor Bevin, these individuals are our most vulnerable citizens. 

Please support Tim's Law (HB94), a mental health bill that will help people with severe brain diseases have a "right to treatment" instead of being pushed through the cracks to self-medicate, to end up homeless and/ or become trapped in one of KY's over-crowed prisons ... all from "untreated" symptoms of a disease in their brains!! Tim's law would save lives, save tax payer's money and would allow people with brain diseases to stay out of the revolving door. 

From Kentucky.com's article: 
Bevin proposes $650 million in spending

New governor says his top priority is more money for ailing pension systems
Cabinet secretaries to decide how to cut their agencies by 9 percent in 2017-18
Per-pupil K-12 funding, social workers, public safety among protected categories

Apart from the budget, Bevin said he soon would order independent audits of all state pension agencies and, armed with that information, would propose “substantive structural changes” at the start of the 2017 legislative session. Bevin has called for enrolling future state employees in defined-contribution retirement plans, like a private sector 401(k), to minimize the state’s financial liability.

  Provide $4.8 million over the biennium to hire more social workers and social service clinicians, and raise entry-level wages, affecting 2,030 positions statewide.
  Include $12.4 million to boost salaries for Kentucky State Police and $4.5 million in retention raises for correctional officers at state prisons. The prisons are grappling with a 67 percent turnover rate among employees, Bevin said.
“We have folks who are working (in prisons) for 12 hours on 12 hours on 12 hours on 12 hours. It’s crazy,” the governor said. “We have to offset some of that.”
  Add $6.3 million to hire 44 public defenders, reducing caseloads for the lawyers at the state Department of Public Advocacy who represent indigent criminal suspects. Also in the courts, Bevin said he would fully fund last year’s heroin bill, known as Senate Bill 192; fully fund Operation UNITE, an anti-drug task force in southeastern Kentucky; exempt prosecutors from budget reductions; and include $6.4 million for the KASPER system, which tracks prescriptions for controlled substances.
Public advocate Ed Monahan was delighted to learn of the additional money to hire more public defenders.
“I think it’s a very smart investment that will help reduce the frustrations of victims and prosecutors,” Monahan said. “Better capacity at the front end allows cases to be resolved more quickly, more fairly and more reliably.”

Read more here:

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article56717773.html#storylink=cpy

1 comment:

  1. According to KY Center for Economic Policy the governor's budget: ". . . . cuts General Fund dollars to behavioral health, developmental and intellectual disabilities by $14.5 million or 7.4 percent between the 2016 enacted budget and 2018." Not sure how cutting the budget of behavioral health and developmental & intellectual disabilities is going to help improve services for individuals with these kind of disabilities.
    - See more at: http://kypolicy.org/governor-presents-austere-budget-that-cuts-public-investments-further-and-dedicates-more-for-pension-liabilities/#sthash.pWfVugDy.c80IAaNj.dpuf