Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott has made a formal request of the Greene County Commission to fund three new positions in the jail related to mental health treatment.
The Sheriff shared with Commission the challenges his department has faced with mental health issues involving inmates and how they’ve been unable to provide all the services those inmates need for recovery from their mental illnesses due to budget constraints.
The sheriff is asking the Commission to fund a Psychologist for the jail, along with two licensed professional counselors that can meet with inmates.
Together, the trio would not only diagnose mental health problems with inmates, but also lay out treatment plans and coordinate with County partner agencies to make sure an inmate is able to continue to obtain treatment and therapy after their sentences are completed and they leave the Greene County jail.
The County has been examining mental health issues with inmates during the last few years to help determine if treatment is a better option than incarceration and also to help try and decrease recidivism.
“We have a lot of folks in the jail now who have mental health problems and they don’t want to have those issues, but they need help,” Greene County Commissioner Harold Bengsch told OI in an interview earlier this year. “So we’ve worked from that direction on them.”
The Commission did not take action on the request during the meeting but is examining the request.