FARMINGTON, Utah (ABC4 News) – Davis County celebrated the opening of a new option to jail. If someone struggles with mental health or substance abuse, instead of jail, they can go to the Davis County Receiving Center.
Eddy Helmer just arrived at the newly opened facility anxious for the opportunity. He said, “I’ve been an addict, my whole life.”
Helmer knows he has work to do, but he said he is ready to make a change.
Helmer continued, “My motto was ‘keep it moving. ‘I lost my wife, my job, my kids, my car. I need help and this facility is so inspirational.”
His inspiration is the Davis County Receiving Center. It is a new option instead of jail.
Nichole Cunha is the Program Supervisor; she explained the goal of their new option. Cunha said, “We are intervening in the acute point of crisis and diverting people to treatment and away from more restrictive environments including jail or incarceration.”
If a low-level offender breaks the law, law enforcement in Davis County has another option. Instead of just taking them to jail, they can get the person help.
Cunha said, “When they are brought into the justice system, they become better criminals and better substance users. We are attempting to divert that.”
The resources and treatment hope to take a person’s life and do a course correction. Give them help and hope.
Helmer said this new opportunity gives them “People who care for us and another option and that’s huge.”
It is huge for the individual and important for the Davis County community.
Davis County Sheriff Kelly Sparks explained, “In the past, these people have been just taken to jail because there is no other option. this is a great alternative we now have in Davis County.”
Helmer is excited about the future. He said, “I have a long road, but at least I have a road.”
Once at the Receiving Center, the low-level offender will immediately be connected to resources. If they really do the program, they may not be charged with their crime. Right now, this is a one-year trial, but the hope is it will be expanded.
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