A contract between Carbon County and Four Corners Mental Health to provide treatment and drug or alcohol rehabilitation services in the local area came under discussion at last Wednesday's commission meeting.
"The jails and prisons in this country are facing huge problems when it comes to drugs and mental illness," said Carbon Commissioner Bill Krompel.
"After having had discussions with Gene Strate (county attorney), James Cordova (sheriff) and Judge Storrs (Elayne Storrs, Wellington and Carbon County justice courts), I have realized what a huge problem this is in our county. Carbon has some of the highest drug rate usage in the state and our jail is full of people with problems that they need help with," continued the commissioner
Krompel said he also discussed the related matters with Bob Greenberg, the director of the Four Corners Mental Health center.
The commissioner asked Greenberg several questions about the $5 million in state funding that is divided between Carbon, Emery and Grand counties to provide mental health services to the communities.
The general mental health of the inmates housed in the Carbon County Jail are also of concern, noted Commissioner Steve Burge.
"There are a lot of problems individuals in the jail need help with beside the drugs and alcohol" said Burge. "It appears 60 to 80 percent of those in the facility have mental problems and illiteracy is a large problem, too."
Greenberg explained what happens with many of the subjects who go to jail.
"For most, going to jail just makes whatever problems they have had worse," said the Four Corners director. "Once they run afoul of the law, it just goes down from there."
Greenberg highlighted the services that Four Corners provides to the jail, but indicated what the agency does probably "isn't enough" for many inmates.
"Right now, if they are to get treatment, it must be court ordered," added the director.
Greenberg also addressed Krompel's comments about Carbon's high rate of drug problems.
"Compared to the rest of Utah, we are high," pointed out the Four Corners director. "But if you compare it to the rest of the nation, we are about average. Utah, as a whole, just has less of a problem."
Krompel questioned Green-berg about how much of the money that Four Corners gets from the state goes to Carbon County.
"More than half of the service money we receive goes to Carbon County programs," said Greenberg. "And that money is balanced toward the public in general, with 80 percent of it going there and only 20 percent going toward treatment at the jail."
The issue about the provision of education services in driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI) cases came up when (Continued from page 1A)
Krompel asked why people have to wait to take the court-ordered classes.
"The fact is that we can't monetarily run the class with less than four people attending," explained Greenberg. "There are a lot of people busted for DUI, but very few of them show up to the class."
Motorists who get DUIs are almost always ordered to go to the classes and to pay their part of the instruction which amounts to $200 per attendee. But some of the individuals are supposed to attend have complained that they cannot because the classes do not take place regularly.
"The way I see it, if they have to pay the $200 up front they should get the class no matter how many people are enrolled," indicated Storrs during the commission meeting. "One woman that I have dealt with was told to go to Emery County to take the classes, but without the class she can't get her drivers license back, so how is she going to get there?"
But, Greenberg continued to assert that monetarily it just couldn't be done without at least four paying attendees.
The commission asked for some figures on the costs and said they would be interested in supplementing the program so that it could be run when needed regardless of the number of attendees.
"What kind of subsidy would be needed to run it each year?" asked Commissioner Mike Milovich.
The director of the center said that to run the class eight times a year (with eight sessions in each course) would cost a maximum of $4,800.
"Well then we need to make this subsidy happen so that if one person shows up, it still can be taught," stated Milovich. "Then those who are now using this as an excuse for not going will not have one."
The commission also talked about developing a literacy program at the jail and working with the GED director at the school district on helping inmates to complete their high school education.
In other business the commission opened bids for a new dump truck for the road department. Bidders included Lake City International with a bid of $75,120 for the chassis and $22,986 for the body, and Sterling Truck of Utah with a bid of $74,395 for a chassis and $22,986 for the body. Krompel suggested the commission have Ray Hanson, the road department supervisor, review the bids and come back with a recommendation.