Two years of research led to the formation of the Bridge Center and a request for a small tax to pay for it in 2016. When the tax failed, we hired a firm to find alternative  streams of revenue. They worked for months, looking at federal and state health dollars, and reported that a local tax was the only potential source to operate a stabilization center. All the reports are on this site, and if you want to visit with us for more information, please fill out the contact form

Fiscal Impacts of a Diversion Program

In 2015, M. Ray Perryman, an economist from San Antonio, where a jail diversion program was successful, calculated that an EBR jail diversion program would generate $3 million in direct cost savings in year one and $54.9 million over 10 years. He found economic benefits from two sources:

  • Direct savings of $3 million in the first year, $8.1 million per year at maturity, $26.4 million total over five years and $54.9 million over 10 years.

  • Higher productivity and smaller secondary costs to the community of $15.9 million in the first year, $42.4 million per year at maturity and $288.7 million over 10 years.


Initiative to Decriminalize Mental Illness

In 2015, Health Management Associates was contracted to deliver a business and implementation plan to operate a treatment program. HMA estimated that operating a treatment center would cost $5.7 million per year but that expense would be more than offset by reduced ER visits, lower prison medical costs and more efficient use of law enforcement time. This plan recommended public funding to support the center, and the Metro Council and then-mayor Kip Holden agreed. They proposed a small annual property tax - less than $20 for someone who owns a $200,000 home – but it failed by a small margin, about 1% of the vote, in December 2016.


Alternatives to Incarceration for Low-level Offenders

The City-Parish hired Loop Capital to analyze alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders to reduce overcrowding and escalating cost at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. The report recommended eight strategies, including the development of a diversion program like the one proposed by the Bridge Center for Hope.


A separate report for the city-parish by Stephen Goldsmith, a former mayor of Indianapolis, included a diversion program like The Bridge Center among its recommendations for reworking the EBR justice system.

Recommendations for Operating The Bridge Center

After the failure of the tax, the Center hired Emergent Method, a local consulting firm, to review mental health services in East Baton Rouge Parish. Emergent Method evaluated opportunities for collaboration along the continuum of care, and worked to identify alternative funding sources for the Center. Emergent Method developed recommendations for operating the Center, and found that a tax was necessary to cover annual operations.