Judges train to better address individuals with behavioral health needs

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Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 3:13 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - At least sixty-four percent of inmates in state and federal prison met the criteria for mental illness at the time of their booking, or during the 12 months leading up to their arrest. That’s according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. That’s why North Dakota judges are training to more effectively deal with individuals with mental and behavioral health needs.

District Court Judge Brad Cruff was one of 15 judges in the U.S. chosen by behavioral health program directors to participate in the Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative this month. After training, he’ll co-teach the subject to all state court judges in North Dakota.

Advocates say the goal of helping those struggling with behavioral health issues is to reduce recidivism rates and save taxpayer money in the long run.