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Mental-Health Resources and Advice for Inmates of County Jails

Mental-Health Resources And Advice For Inmates Of County Jails - Photo by Donald Tong from Pexels

In addition to the Medical Services offered in the jails, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department offers a comprehensive range of mental-health services. Initial psychiatric assessments are conducted to determine the need for such care. Professional nursing and social work staff provide these assessments, schedule follow-up services and advise Classification staff regarding inmate placement or special housing requirements.

Mental-health screening services are provided to the following inmate patients:

  • Inmates who have been identified as having previously received psychiatric service in the community, and who request continuation of services
  • Inmates who are interested in receiving psychiatric care while in custody without previous psychiatric care in the community
  • Inmates who, after being assessed by Medical staff, are believed to require psychiatric services while in custody
  • Patients in crisis are seen immediately and other patients are seen in as timely a fashion as possible, with urgent referrals being made within 24 hours

Mental-health clinicians perform the following duties:

  • Assessment of immediate psychological and social needs
  • Development of appropriate treatment plans
  • Opportunities for a variety of group therapies including Life Skills Groups, Cognitive Reorganization Groups, and Therapy Groups. Group therapy strives to improve social skills, stress management, effective communications, self-esteem, anger management, and prevention of domestic violence
  • Participation in due process hearings and the tracking of legal processes related to mental-health care
  • Collateral contacts with family, attorneys, and others involved in disposition planning
  • Supportive and crisis counseling
  • Development of appropriate discharge plans
  • Clinical assessments for referrals to outside service providers

Mental-health services are also available to less acute patients. Psychiatric clinic services are available several days per week, and medication may be prescribed. Short term crisis intervention is available and maybe requested by any jail staff member or by the inmate. Discharge planning and case management are available to provide continuity of care upon the inmate’s release to the community.

Advice for family of a man or woman in jail who needs mental-health-related treatment

Supporting and coping with a loved one who suffers from a brain disorder can be extremely challenging and stressful. You can provide strong and effective support during this important time by doing the following:

  • When contacted by the inmate, stay calm, and offer your support
  • Reassure the inmate of the right to legal representation and assist in making contact with a lawyer if necessary. Attorneys familiar with mental-health issues may be especially helpful
  • Tell the inmate that a screening will be conducted for mental-health issues and that it is okay to discuss medical and mental-health concerns with nursing and mental-health staff. It is important that inmates feel safe to speak openly with these professionals
  • Obtain your friend or relative’s booking number. If you speak with the inmate by phone, ask them to read the booking number printed on their wristband
  • If the release is unlikely to occur soon, and you are concerned about important information reaching Medical/Mental-Health staff, you may complete an Inmate Medication Information Form
  • You may wish to contact a support group

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