Miami County Jail to offer mental health services to inmates

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PERU, Ind. (May 8, 2015) - Inmates at the Miami County Jail are days away from having access to 24-hour mental health care.  A first for the jail, but something staff believe there is a definite need for.

“There is absolutely a need.  Once state hospitals close and quit receiving the inmates and giving them mental health services, the jails are the ones that take on that process.  Honestly we have not been equipped in the past to do that,” said Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller.

According to the Department of Justice, 20 percent of state prisoners and 21 percent of local jail prisoners have a recent history of mental health conditions.

Miami County Jail also has dozens of inmates who suffer from mental illnesses and addiction.   Starting May 23, health providers will treat the inmates, sending in nurses, medical doctors and mental health providers to the facility.   A mental health worker will also visit the jail every other week to talk to the inmates.

“We will get their past medical records; see what they have been diagnosed with in the past.   What treatments have worked and what have not worked.  Then we try to continue those treatments in jail,” said Lisa Scroggins of Quality Correctional Care.

Quality Correctional Care focuses on offering interactive services to the inmates, which can stop them from becoming repeat offenders.

“Really what we saw were the same names coming across my desk every month.  These inmates would be arrested, get out and offend, get arrested again and come right back to jail,” said Scroggins.

These programs will help the jail guards who deal with the mentally ill inmates on a daily basis.

“It will relieve some of the stress our jailers take on each day.  They are with them 24/7 and there is only so much that they can do,” said Sheriff Tim Miller.

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