A presentation from a national advocate for mental health and criminal justice Tuesday indicated Douglas County is doing the right things to reduce the number of individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems in the county jail.
Mental Health Media Clips
The answer is not simply to build more psychiatric facilities, but rather to fulfill the promise of deinstitutionalization by providing effective treatment and supports in the least restrictive setting.
Perhaps most notably, states now must set “maximum time and distance” standards to ensure that there are enough doctors in the right places.
On average, the percentage of mentally ill people behind bars is more than three times the percentage of people in the general population with mental illness, a legislative task force was told Thursday.
Running a jail is about much more than processing and housing people awaiting trial. At larger facilities, efficiency, personnel management, and resource allocation may mean the difference between swift and delayed justice. Now, some administrators are setting a new goal: making their jails run more like companies.
Amid growing recognition that large numbers of U.S. jail inmates suffer from mental health problems, three major organizations have gathered teams from 50 places in Washington, D.C., to plan a detailed attack on the problem.
The program is designed to enlist law enforcement, health services, homeless shelters and other agencies in looking for signals before someone spirals into violence.
The rules aim to strengthen the existing 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires health insurers to offer the same level of benefits for mental health and substance abuse that they do for physical health.
The County Council approved Tuesday the release of $2.2 million to the sheriff’s office, the criminal-justice-services division and the behavioral health agency to beef up their ranks and expand the community treatment services needed to keep “high-risk, high-need individuals” from living in a revolving door between homeless shelters and the county jail, racking up big bills for taxpayers.
A new study of Riverside County’s jail population finds that many inmates are not locked up for probation violations and reasons other than newly committed crimes and that the mentally ill tend to be booked more often and kept in custody longer.