Archive for Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Douglas County earns national recognition for reducing population of inmates with mental illness

The Douglas County Commission meets in the historic courtroom on the second floor of the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St.

The Douglas County Commission meets in the historic courtroom on the second floor of the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St.

March 7, 2018

Advertisement

The National Association of Counties has recognized Douglas County for its efforts to reduce its population of inmates with mental illness, a county jail official said Wednesday.

Mike Brouwer, director of the re-entry program at the Douglas County Jail, told county commissioners that the county was one of eight in the nation invited to become a Stepping Up Innovator County. The designation is part of the National Association of Counties' Stepping Up initiative, which aims to reduce the incarceration of people with mental illness.

Among the programs the association cited in giving Douglas County the designation are the behavioral health court; the pretrial release program; a pilot program starting this year to divert eight women from jail and into substance abuse treatment and counseling; and the Lawrence Police Department's co-responder program, in which a behavioral health professional accompanies officers to incidents involving someone with mental health issues.

The recognition arrives as the county prepares to ask voters to approve a half-cent sales tax to fund a $44 million expansion of the county jail and construct an $11 million behavioral health campus. Commission Chair Nancy Thellman said the designation demonstrated to voters that the county was in the forefront of national efforts to find alternate placement for inmates with behavioral health issues.

“We’re in the elite eight,” she said.

Brouwer said he was not sure of what specific benefits the county would get from the designation, but that it would probably include an invitation for county officials to present at a conference. He said he would learn more about what it involved Friday at a meeting with a representative from the Council of State Governments Justice Center, one of the National Association of Counties' partners in the Stepping Up initiative.

Comments

Sharilyn Wells 2 months, 2 weeks ago

How many more might be diverted by crisis center?

Sharilyn Wells 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I wish you would honor folks with mental illness and not just your treatment system if no one cooperated you would not have success. Some of your stuff is so stigmatizing.

Bob Summers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Creative, fantasy paper work, works every time it is tried.

Sharilyn Wells 2 months, 2 weeks ago

It is in fact a national shame that large numbers of folks with mental illness have ended up in jail after "mental health reform". This is what should be done everywhere. Nonsensical to have people with mental illness in jail and a failure of the way the system has worked.

Bill Pasquel 2 months, 1 week ago

Seriously?..."Among the programs the association cited in giving Douglas County the designation are the behavioral health court; the pretrial release program; a pilot program starting this year to divert eight women from jail and into substance abuse treatment and counseling; and the Lawrence Police Department's co-responder program, in which a behavioral health professional accompanies officers to incidents involving someone with mental health issues"....

"Behavioral health court".. Wow...Behave or come back to court on the taxpayers dime. I wonder how that is working?? "A pilot program starting this year to divert eight women from jail and into substance abuse treatment and counseling".. Eight out of how many? Yeah, I know. Meth heads with kids to use as an excuse for being locked up. How many men did this "pilot program" help?

Douglas County.and "National Recognition"? An oxymoron at its' best...Geez....

Sharilyn Wells 2 months, 1 week ago

A lot of this has come about because people demanded something different be done.

Jeanette Kekahbah 2 months, 1 week ago

A lot of people have been doing more than demanding.

Bill Pasquel and Sharilyn Wells, will either of you be signing up for a Saturday 90 minute presentation & tour?

Have either of you taken the time to read about what HAS been done?

http://www.dgso.org/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50

Sharilyn Wells 2 months, 1 week ago

My little opinion does not amount to much but I was deeply bothered by mental health reform. seriously mentally ill sleep hidden away from view in the sleeping bags . People have frozen to death, gotten run over by a car, died of heat prostration. All the while were told we got the best treatment. If this is the best god help us. Before there was a shelter people would commit a "crime" so they would not have to sleep in the street. Is this really about honoring and valuing the lives of people who have serious problems or is about being able to say what a fine system. When John Lowe, a gentle soul, got run over I realized how much stigma there was against people with his kind of problems. It does not matter, as long as we can make mentally ill people into the" other" any dog gone thing can be done.

Greg DiVilbiss 2 months, 1 week ago

Sharilyn, I am trying to understand what you are saying. I like you feel the treatment of the mentally ill is not satisfactory and much harm has been done. It sounds to me like you are opposing these programs when they are designed by people who truly want to help the situation.

Total reform of mental health care is going to take more than what Lawrence, Kansas can do, however, we are a leader in the country doing what we can with what we have. We are now being asked to do more by voting for the expansion of the jail which is overcrowded and to build facilities that better serve the mentally ill.

I applaud the efforts of Douglas County and Bert Nash to try and make a difference in the lives of the mentally ill and to try and only keep those in jail who need to be there. Are the systems perfect? No are they better than much of the country, clearly, it is so. Yet it is not enough. We need to help those who need housing and services so they do not end up like John Lowe.

I plan on voting for the measure when the ballots are released. It is time we step up and treat the incarcerated and the mentally ill in a way that serves both populations.

Sharilyn Wells 2 months, 1 week ago

Because a lot of this stigma is in the system that serves them. When John Lowe got run over a Dr. Whitten_Vile from Bert Nash said there was not any place for people that did not want to get better. I thought they would say something like we want to prevent this kind of thing. How does any one know if some one does or does not have some kind of hope for their life.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

loading...