In South Dakota, a new project designed to help prisoners and detainees with their mental health has made a difference in the prison population.

Known as Virtual Crisis Care, the pilot project allows law enforcement officials 24/7 access to mental health services, completely online. As a result, 75% of the people detained by South Dakota police since January 2020 have been placed into community-based mental health care rather than prison.

Virtual Crisis Care was funded with $1 million from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, with $360,000 in state funds going to the program until June 2022. As of this year law enforcement in 24 counties have used the program, connecting officers to the service with tablets.

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