In a new story from The Daily Yonder, reporter Kristi Eaton investigates Fairpoint Village, New York, where law enforcement tackle mental health crisis calls with the help of social workers. Part of a restorative justice initiative, Fairpoint PD give offenders the chance to talk to a licensed social worker and get support for any issues that led to the offender committing the crime.

From the story: “Since the start of the program, Farina said there have been 19 cases, with all but one turning out successfully. “It’s a paradigm shift,” he said during an interview with The Daily Yonder. “What’s provided for us is more intimate contact with cases, understanding the underlying issues, why people are involved in criminal activity or having a mental health issue or domestic violence-related issue. So we’re looking at sort of the static events. We’re looking at what’s going on, behind the scenes – the underlying reasons for behavior, and trying to come up with a way that’s restorative to address these issues instead of ultimately going through the judicial system.” 

Funding for the initiative comes from the operational budget, he said. The social worker is a consultant and is able to be on call to attend to crisis calls as needed.”

Still in its early stages, the Fairpoint program is one of many such initiatives cropping up all over America, in cities big and small.

To read the rest of the story on the Yonder, click here.