Adams County Jail Creating Mental Health Wing

Dorm will be outfitted to look and feel like inpatient hospital

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In a project scheduled to open in mid-2017, the Adams County Jail is remodeling a section, or dorm, to become a mental health facility. The goal is to lower the rate of recidivism and length of stay for inmates with behavioral health disorders.

“A lot of times the jails start to become the place where those that are struggling with mental health issues and aren’t getting help end up,” said Sheriff Michael McIntosh, who pitched this project to the county commissioners a year and a half ago.

The county partners with Community Reach Center, a local nonprofit that provides mental and physical health services, to provide the treatment and care that those struggling with behavioral health disorders need inside the jail.

This partnership started in 2008 and Community Reach Center now has 12.5 staff working inside the jail, including therapists and transitional employees who work to connect inmates with care after release.

“Currently, you’ll see my team grabbing their laptops and providing services wherever the services are needed,” said Abigail Tucker, director of Community Reach Center.

The new $3 million wing will create a formal space for the Community Reach Center team to provide care.

The Community Reach Center will be training 10 new deputies, who were approved in the 2017 Adams County budget, on suicide prevention and how to handle security inside the new mental health pod. These new employees were a separate line item in the 2017 budget and will cost $508,750.

“There is some interest from deputies for that specific posting or position,” Tucker said with excitement. She has been working with Adams County since 2009, has high praise for the partnership and looks forward to updating the space where her team can provide treatment.

“It should look like an inpatient hospital,” she said, describing the pod. “We provide the same groups of curriculum in jail and in our justice outpatient team.”

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