Govs. Burgum, Hutchinson: All Americans stand to benefit from fixing the health crisis in our nation's jails
Gov. Doug Burgum published a guest editorial with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Fox News this week regarding the need for improved behavioral health care in the nation's correctional facilities. Read an excerpt below:
Every year, a disproportionate number of people who have behavioral health needs cycle in and out of jails, often exacerbating their illnesses and potentially endangering themselves and the communities around them as a result.
Research shows that people with mental illnesses, who are typically booked on minor charges, experience longer jail terms than people without mental illnesses and have higher rates of return to county lock-up. Those repeated admissions and longer stays burden already strained taxpayer dollars.
While we can agree that jail sentences aren’t viable treatment options for people who have a mental illness or substance addiction, establishing alternatives to jail time is extremely difficult. There is often poor coordination between state and local agencies, budgets are limited, and many communities have a shortage of qualified behavioral health professionals and treatment facilities.
As governors of Arkansas and North Dakota, we know that these challenges are compounded in rural communities, where resources are scant, geographical distance can be prohibitive, and public transportation is rare. But those barriers haven’t stopped leaders around the country from coming up with innovative solutions.
In North Dakota, we launched Free Through Recovery, a statewide initiative to reduce recidivism and improve health care outcomes by delivering high-quality recovery support services to people on parole and probation. More than 1,000 people have participated to date, working not just toward recovery, but housing, employment, and other needs that can help them lead healthy lives and stay out of incarceration.
There must be collective agreement that our criminal justice system should improve communities, not be a source of harm. From the national level to the local level, we must continue to innovate relentlessly and do all we can to help provide people with the support they need to live healthy and productive lives.
Continue reading at the link below.
Burgum: Carefully manage dam releases to minimize impacts, prevent flooding
Gov. Burgum expressed his support for careful management of releases from Garrison Dam to prevent flooding and minimize impacts along the Missouri River to the fullest extent possible.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was releasing water from Garrison Dam at a rate of 15,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). In a conference call with state officials and others Thursday, Corps officials said they planned to start stepping up the release rate on Saturday, June 8, reaching 30,000 cfs by the end of next week. Their forecast calls for a peak release rate of 46,000 cfs by late June.
For comparison, releases peaked at about 60,000 cfs last summer, causing the Missouri River in Bismarck to rise to within about 1 foot of flood stage. At 46,000 cfs, Corps officials said the river should remain well below flood stage in Bismarck, but they acknowledged that their other runoff scenarios show higher releases.
“While we understand the need to store additional water in the reservoir system to alleviate pressure on downstream states hit hard by rainfall and flooding, we also strongly urge the Corps to carefully manage and clearly communicate any increases in dam releases to prevent flooding and minimize impacts upstream and downstream along the Missouri River,” Burgum said.
Burgum appoints Kaleb Dschaak as student member on North Dakota Board of Higher Education
Gov. Burgum appointed University of North Dakota student Kaleb Dschaak to a one-year term as the student representative on the state Board of Higher Education.
Dschaak graduated from Dickinson High School in 2015 and anticipates graduating from UND in spring 2020 with majors in marketing and political science. He has served as president of the North Dakota Student Association, vice president of the UND student body and president of the Future Business Leaders of America. Dschaak also has been a policy intern for University Information Technology at UND and worked on the first nationwide student bill of rights regarding data privacy and security.
“Kaleb’s extensive experience in student government and information technology, along with his business and budgeting background, make him well-suited to represent students during this period of rapid change in higher education driven by technological, demographic and economic forces,” Burgum said.
Dschaak’s term on the board begins July 1. Burgum expressed his gratitude to current student member Ashley Thornton for her service on the board.
The Board of Higher Education has eight voting members appointed by the governor, including one student member, and two non-voting members who represent the North Dakota University System’s faculty and staff. The board oversees the system’s 11 public colleges and universities.
College students congratulated for participating in national cybersecurity competition
Gov. Burgum congratulated the 69 North Dakota college students from 10 institutions who are participating in the SANS Institute’s Cyber FastTrack program. The free online program is open to all college students and offers real-world cybersecurity experience.
Williston State College is the top participating college in North Dakota, which is one of 25 states participating. Ten students, including five from WSC, made the quarterfinals and are competing for $2.5 million in scholarships.
“North Dakota has an opportunity to lead the nation in cybersecurity talent,” Burgum said. “Computer science and cybersecurity skills are in demand in virtually every industry, and these students are part of a generation of leaders who will be competing for high-demand jobs, some of which may not even exist yet. Congratulations to all of the participants, and good luck in the next round.”
Participating entities include Cankdeska Cikana Community College, Minot State University, North Dakota State College of Science, North Dakota State University, Valley City State University, WSC, Bismarck State College, University of Mary, University of North Dakota and Lake Region State College.
North Dakota also had the highest per capita participation in the high school version of the program, which emphasizes female involvement, with 310 students from 28 schools participating.
There are also several cybersecurity-related camps being held this summer across the state, hosted by BSC, NDSU and UCodeGirl.
“These camps are integral to investing in our youth and the future needs of our workforce,” North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott said. “Meeting these needs through higher education programs alongside major growth in cybersecurity highlights adaptability to a continually changing environment due to technological advancements. Not only are our students able to find immediate use for their knowledge, skills and abilities, and connect these to our workforce, but North Dakota businesses, and businesses considering relocation to North Dakota, will be able to recruit for their needs right here knowing they’re getting the best possible candidates.”