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KOSU's Allison Herrera Selected For Fellowship, Will Report On Tribal-Run Mental Health Programs

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Dylan Goforth / The Frontier
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KOSU's Allison Herrera interviews U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe in 2020.

The USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism has selected KOSU reporter Allison Herrera as one of 24 journalists from around the country to take part in its 2021 National Fellowship.

Fellows receive training, one-on-one mentoring and reporting grants to investigate and explore critical health and social welfare issues.

Herrera will report on tribal-run mental health programs in Oklahoma and whether they are having an impact on policing by both tribal and non-tribal law enforcement in the state.

Oklahoma ranks 46th in the nation for mental health spending, and some tribes in the state are planning to pick up the slack.

After last year's McGirt v. Oklahoma decision restored criminal jurisdiction to the Muscogee Nation, tribal officers (known as Lighthorse Police) now patrol 11 counties. Officers report that about half of their calls involve people who need mental health treatment.

The Five Tribes are scaling up their criminal justice systems as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, but they're also investing money in facilities and programs to prevent and treat addiction and mental issues.

Herrera's reporting will focus on these efforts and explore their impact on criminal justice for tribal citizens and non-Natives.

Joining Herrera in this year's class of fellows are reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and The Frontier, among others.

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