Sheriff’s ‘Reach Out’ program gets $224,290 boost thanks to efforts by county attorney

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk and Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk and Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher

Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher has secured vital funding support from Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk for REACH OUT to help the program launch as soon as possible.

The funds authorized by County Attorney Polk are in the amount of $224,290 which has been appropriated by the state legislature to the County Attorney for pre-trial diversion programs.

“REACH OUT is the most visionary program I have seen in my 35 years working in the criminal justice system in Arizona,” said Polk.

Sheriff Mascher is honored by Polk’s commitment to provide these funds as part of his overall goal to reduce recidivism and provide a safety net of treatment options for inmates who qualify.

REACH OUT is a project initiated by Mascher and his Chief Deputy David Rhodes. The goal of REACH OUT is to create a road to recovery outside of incarceration by providing service linkage to inmates of the county jail to appropriate behavioral health and substance abuse treatment at the earliest possible moment in the criminal justice system.

Polk added, “Most of what we have historically done is to provide back-end services to defendants. REACH OUT is ground-breaking in that the link to services will be made upon the system’s first contact with an offender.”

Detention facility release coordinators will screen inmates suffering from mental illness, substance abuse and/or a co-occurring disorder to determine history of substance use and mental illness, willingness for treatment, and severity of charges. From there, the coordinators will link the inmate to partners throughout the county who can provide appropriate treatment to qualifying individuals.

Late last year, Chief David Rhodes obtained a $250,000 federal Department of Justice Grant to initiate the ‘REACH OUT’ program. These additional monies made available by Polk will go a long way to make sure this important program is adequately staffed and funded.

Chief Rhodes said, “The goal of this program is to reduce the burden on the Criminal Justice System, in turn reducing overall costs with better outcomes and a safer community.”

“I believe so much in the potential of this program and in the leadership of Sheriff Mascher that I am contributing funding to support the release coordinator positions,” said Polk. “In addition, the program has an important evaluation piece that will tell us whether this new way of doing business is a success. REACH OUT is partnership between multiple public and private entities and the best pre-trial diversion program I have ever seen. I am honored to be one of those partners,” said Polk.

Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov

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