4 mental health crisis centers to be established in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson says four Arkansas counties will receive up to $1.6 million each to fund facilities where people with mental health issues can receive treatment rather than be booked into jail.

Hutchinson said in a statement Thursday that Craighead, Pulaski, Sebastian and Washington counties each applied to open the "crisis stabilization units." The governor says only three counties were initially going to be selected for the funding, but all four counties submitted "stellar" applications.

Hutchinson says an additional $1.4 million from Arkansas' Rainy Day Fund will be used to support the facilities. The use of the funds must get final approval from the Arkansas Legislative Council. The state had already committed $5 million for the project.

Hutchinson says the facilities could potentially help reduce the strain on county jails.