MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - For the last four years the Yellow Line Project in Blue Earth County has served people who come into contact with law enforcement, focusing on mental health and chemical dependency.
The program encourages healthy choices to reduce future costs and consequences - for those who are not a risk to the community.
Through its creative ways of keeping people in the community and out of jail, Blue Earth County Human Services has seen progress with the Yellow Line Project, especially a decrease in detox.
“We’ve seen about $100,000 a year go down in that, about 20% savings over the last two years now and so we’re glad that that number has gone down and stayed down. And then in state hospital uses, even more striking we were up near $371,000 I think was our high point and now we are projecting about $60,000 this year," Director of Human Services for Blue Earth County Phil Claussen said.
If someone does go to jail, authorities try to get them out within 1 to 3 days, with a plan in place.
“We can really develop what’s called their ‘My Yellow Line Plan’ so we can identify three goals that are kind of smart, they’re short term we can measure them that they were successful or unsuccessful and some of them can really take the initiative and the first steps on kind of overcoming those things. We look at who do they have in their community, or their sense of support whether that be professional or personal," Yellow Line Project Community-Based Coordinator Jessi Hornick added.
It’s the only project of its kind in the state and other counties have expressed interest. Here in Blue Earth County they look to expand on what’s currently in place.
“To go inside the jail itself and look at folks that are mandatory held in jail but try to get them back out in the community as soon as possible and that will probably be a real focus for us over the next couple years," Claussen said.
“Continue to work on building that relationship with law-enforcement to prove access to resources and what we can offer. What’s unique with yellow line is an individual just needs to have interaction with law-enforcement in our community, it’s not you have to be from Blue Earth County so we are working with individuals in other counties and then connecting them to their resources there," Hornick added.