The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas on a new grant-funded program to treat inmates at the county jail for addiction and mental health issues.

The Sheriff’s Office was approached last fall by CHC/SEK about starting the program, and although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its launch, the program is now underway, Sheriff Danny Smith said at Tuesday’s Crawford County Commission meeting.

"It starts when they come in the door with a medical screening, and the medical staff will basically find candidates and they’ve already started doing that," Smith said.

A common issue with inmates is that it is hard to know how long they will have to remain in jail, Smith said, "and this is going to allow them to have resources at our facility and when they get out it’s going to take care of some of the costs of things, and so it’ll have some of the same resources that they would have there in a controlled environment that they would actually have out there to help try to facilitate them recovering."

Smith said the pilot program is an opportunity to potentially end the cycle of addiction and crime that goes hand in hand for many inmates.

"If we get one out of ten and help somebody I think will be definitely a great program," Smith said, "so we’re pretty excited about it."