BRAF recruits leader for new crisis intervention center
BATON ROUGE – The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has recruited a new leader to organize and establish a crisis intervention center in partnership with East Baton Rouge Parish leaders.
Rob Reardon is the first executive director of The Bridge Center, a non-profit organization created by BRAF to assist those with mental illness and substance abuse problems. Reardon has nearly three decades of experience and previously worked with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office.
"We picked Rob because of his accomplishments in Lafayette," John M. Spain, Foundation executive vice president, said. "He created a system that saved money and treated people with mental illness in a humane way, while making the parish a safer place for all," Spain said.
While as the director of corrections in Lafayette, Reardon implemented mental health services, increased the number of prisoners incarcerated in their homes instead of in prison, expanded re-entry services to reduce recidivism and offered services for troubled children.
"I strongly believe that incarceration, although sometimes necessary, is usually not the best solution to those dealing with mental illness and substance abuse issues," Reardon said.
The intervention center is BRAF's effort of offering an alternative for the mentally ill to go, instead of the emergency room or jail, where law enforcement currently places them.
The center would include a sobering unit, a medical detox program, behavioral health respite beds and a care management team to coordinate care after individuals leave the center.
Leaders have found an existing detox center with extra space to use for the intervention center on South Foster Drive. BRAF will cover the renovation costs and Mayor Kip Holden has proposed a 1.5 mill property tax that, if approved, would be on the December ballot.
In a report by The Perryman Group, economists say a treatment center would save East Baton Rouge taxpayers $55 million in the first 10 years, as treatment costs are less than incarceration costs
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