News: Mental Health
People with mental health and substance use disorders frequently cycle in and out of jail. It can be difficult for someone to get better when floating between jails, homeless shelters, group homes and emergency departments.
Officials at the Pitt County Sheriff’s Department noticed this pattern and they’re making changes to reduce recidivism rates and get these people the help they need.
The Pitt County department has a jail “navigator” who helps place people into safe housing and reconnect them to benefits upon their release. The sheriff’s office is also preparing to launch a new treatment program for drug users housed in the jail.
A new study offers a solution to the problems of jail overcrowding and recidivism in Michigan: Invest more in mental health and drug treatment.
Wayne State University’s Center for Behavioral Health and Justice spent five years reviewing treatment and jail-diversion programs in 10 counties. Researchers found that people who got treatment for mental health disorders were less likely to return to jail.
“Training law enforcement to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness is really important,” says Sheryl Kubiak, dean of WSU’s School of Social Work who led the study. “When we did pre- and post-interviews, officers would tell us things like they didn’t believe in mental illness, they just thought it was bad behavior.”
DAWASON, Ga. (WALB) – Mental health and lack of surveillance is an on going safety issue at the Terrell County Jail, according to the jail administrator who was attacked on the job.
We are told it becomes a revolving door of inmates with mental health issues coming in and out of the jail.
The lives of inmates and staff are at risk when problems happen and so far there’s no reliable way to prove it.
It’s not just inmates behind the doors in the Terrell County jail.
“We have issues to the point that the safety of the staff becomes an issue,” said Sandra Walker, the jail administrator whose safety has been at risk a few times.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) – Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher called three men heroes after they helped save the life of a fellow inmate who attempted suicide in the jail.
“Thank you gentlemen, you’re heroes,” said Fletcher. “You saved a guy’s life.”
At the Collin County Jail, there is a program dedicated to giving military veterans who got into trouble with the law, a hand up to succeed in civilian life.
“My deputies constantly see and law enforcement across the United States encounter veterans who are self-medicating because they found themselves in a situation where they’re trying to ease the pain,” said Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner, who says P.T.S.D, trauma, and anger issues stemming from military experiences can leave some veterans struggling to cope on their own. “But when we see a group of veterans together we know they do much better together.”