Part of a law enforcement officer’s job is to defuse a situation before it gets out of hand. Another part is keeping the spark from being lit in the first place. That’s where a better understanding of mental illness can help—and where a new partnership between the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office and the National Alliance on Mental Illness comes in.
Mental Health Media Clips
The Potter County Criminal Justice Advisory Board has developed a DUI Treatment Court, Drug Treatment Court and a pilot Pre-Trial Diversion Program to help people stay out of jail by offering substance addiction treatment and related services.
The Jones County Sheriff’s Department along with Pine Belt Mental Health made their mark on a international platform during this years 2018 Crisis Intervention Team Conference. Just this week, the partnering teams traveled to Missouri to teach classes.
Cabarrus County Stepping Up coordinator Tasha McLean, who is employed by Daymark Recovery Services and contracted through the county, works directly with inmates as a connector to treatment if needed. When people are arrested and taken into custody, detention officers perform medical screenings, which she reviews. Certain questions are designed to determine if an individual has a mental health or substance abuse issue.
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said law enforcement officials are trying to understand how women’s experiences are typically different from men’s experiences, and that changes how they interact in a jail.
Over the years the partnership between the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Tucson law enforcement has become truly reciprocal: NAMI instructors train officers how to interact with mentally ill individuals in crisis, and law enforcement instructors teach participants in NAMI’s “Family to Family” program how to best interact with officers and deputies in the field.
The state study comes after The Pew Charitable Trusts issued a comprehensive, state-by-state look at prison health care costs last year. Among the 49 states that participated in the study, Vermont came in with the second-highest per-inmate health care cost in fiscal year 2015 at $13,747.
In a 2015 report, Sgt. John Gonzales of the Albuquerque Police Department identified numerous benefits of having a psychiatrist on the force, including better education of detectives about mental illness, increased collaboration with health-care providers and more efficient use of hospital resources.
A study indicates that 23 percent of Floyd County’s inmates have mental health issues, “but we know it’s probably well over 50 percent,” said Bonnie Moore, president of NAMI Rome.
“It’s really quite remarkable,” said Suzanne Riordan of Families Act!, which has watchdogged mental-health care at the jail for more than 10 years. “We call…with a complaint, and they’re inside the jail cell almost immediately checking it out. We still have problems. They just get resolved a lot faster now.”