Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
June 22nd, 2017 • News

June 22, 2017- Senator Keith Ingram audio report of news from the 91st General Assembly.

  • In a case that has implications for the Arkansas criminal justice system, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of an inmate on Alabama’s death row. The Alabama inmate was convicted of rape and murder 30 years ago. It turns out that he had brain damage, and the high court ruled that he should have been evaluated for mental illness by a trained expert. According to the justices, the findings of mental illness should have been a factor in his sentencing.
  • Arkansas has two men on death row under similar circumstances, although they are not exactly the same. Both Arkansas men claim that their lives should be spared because they are not mentally competent. However, their claims are disputed by mental health experts who have examined them. The lawyers on either side of their cases disagree. If there is one area where prosecutors and defense attorneys usually do agree, it is about the prevalence of mental illness among people who are sentenced to prison.
  • That’s one reason for the strong bipartisan support in the legislature for Act 423, a far-reaching reform of criminal justice procedures and sentencing. The act provides enforcement with tools to handle people who are going through mental health crises. First of all, it sets up three regional Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Centers, each with 16 beds. When people need mental health treatment and are causing trouble, the police can take them to a center rather than to jail, where they do not get any treatment at all.
  • Act 423 provides special training for police officers to recognize and respond to people going through a mental health crisis. It helps them distinguish people under the influence of drugs or alcohol from people undergoing a mental health crisis and whose behavior is a threat to others and to themselves.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from June 22, 2017