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Posted on: January 25, 2019

MWC Council First in State to Approve Resolution in Support of Smart on Crime Initiative

The Midwest City Council became the first city in the state to approve a resolution in support of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ (ODMHSAS) Smart on Crime initiative. The resolution, passed on January 22, states that the City of Midwest City “Enthusiastically endorses the Smart on Crime Initiative and believes it is a path to bettering the community and the state.”

The Smart on Crime approach, developed by ODMHSAS, recognizes that the majority of non-violent offenses in the state are committed by individuals with mental illness or addiction. The growing cost to incarcerate these individuals is unsustainable and the costs detract from other needed public services. This approach focuses on early intervention and access to appropriate mental health and substance abuse treatment.

It costs significantly more to incarcerate these non-violent offenders than the cost to provide treatment services. The Smart on Crime approach could create an opportunity for the state and Midwest City to avoid millions of dollars in future law enforcement and criminal justice expenses, along with other expenses that result from untreated brain disease. In addition, this program improves the lives of these Oklahoma families as well as the state’s overall health, economic development and public safety.

According to Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes, “This initiative will have positive effects on local communities. I am proud of our forward-thinking Council for being the first in the state to pass a resolution in support of this program.”

“We understand the importance of implementing progressive measures to avoid the negative consequences of failure to address these critical public health and public safety issues,” said Clabes.

According to the ODMHSAS, Oklahoma consistently has some of the highest rates nationally for both mental illness and addiction. In addition, many Oklahomans are in need of treatment services that simply are not available.

Developing a model behavioral health system in our state is contingent on the availability of resources that not only save lives, but benefit local communities like Midwest City and the state in multiple ways.  Among the benefits is a decrease in the time offenders spend in jail with corresponding reduction in the costs to incarcerate them.

Other positive outcomes include much lower rates of incarceration for drug court graduates and mental health court graduates compared to released inmates as well as significant cost savings and cost avoidance for the state and for local communities.

Midwest City is part of the Criminal Justice Advisory Council which endorses the Smart on Crime initiative. Others include the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Council, the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association, and the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police.

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