As we close out another mental health month, we want to shed some light on the progress being made across the United States regarding the mental health of inmates at correctional facilities and that of the officers and staff.
Despite tightening county budgets and a historical absence of adequate mental healthcare in county jails, county correctional facilities have become de facto treatment centers for their communities, often serving as the largest provider of these services in their entire county.
It’s past time to tackle this issue with the vigor it deserves, yet addressing this major health and safety challenge – often posed to correctional facility staff who are desperate to help but unable to – is hampered by rising mental health services costs and tightening county budgets.
However, when funding does come through, county-level action makes a real-world difference to everyone in county correctional facilities, such as in Cobb County, Georgia, where just such funding established a 24/7 inmate psychiatric program with three full-time staff – “The immediate beneficiaries will be inmates, but… jail chief, Col. Temetris Atkins, said his staff was ‘screaming for this type of program.'”
It often comes down to the prioritization of funding for these programs, which are key to the safety and health of both inmates and officers and allow correctional facilities to approach inmates from a clinical perspective – rather than a security standpoint. Resources and tools for correctional facilities, whether in the form of full-time mental health staff or mental health screenings and monitoring, not only improve practices while in custody, but also the outcomes of both crisis and lower-grade mental illnesses when these folks are reentering society.
The Northpointe Suite’s mental health screenings and a behavior plan can make it easier for your facility to determine and address the mental health needs of inmates.
If you would like to learn how it can help you and your staff, contact us today for a free demo or conversation with your sales representative.