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Reducing Recidivism: New Program Aims To Help Mentally Ill Inmates


Kansas City, MO – Over half of the inmates at the city jail have been imprisoned there at least three times before. Local corrections and community leaders say that's in large part due to untreated mental illness and substance abuse. But a new program at the Municipal Correctional Institution, or MCI, aims to break that cycle. KCUR's Elana Gordon has more.

The three year project is called BRIDGES. It'll provide social services like job training and mental health care to about 100 inmates. Nancy Leazer is the Superintendent of MCI and says a key part of the program is continuing those services for people after they're released from jail. She says that in turn will help them successfully transition back into the community and improve the overall safety of the city.

Leazer: "We will see it at the jail that these folks are not going to be coming back. The police department is going to recognize that they're not spending so many of their resources rearresting these folks."

Several organizations, including Truman and Swope Health Services, are teaming up with MCI for the project. It's being funded through a $900,000 grant from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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