Detention Facility Opens Mental Health Unit
Durham, N.C. – The Durham County Detention Facility has opened its first mental health housing unit committed to providing mental health care for some of the facility's most vulnerable detainees. Mental health experts on staff at the detention facility have identified 11 male detainees who are the first to receive care in the new mental health pod.
“We had to recognize changes in state funding and resources for mental health care have changed the way facilities like ours have to prepare and care for inmates,” said Sheriff Mike Andrews. “This issue isn’t going away; I’m confident our new mental health pod will make a difference in the lives of inmates while they’re in custody.”
In 2015, more than 7,300 people were incarcerated in the Durham County Detention Facility. On average, at least 20 percent of inmates processed at the facility are referred to mental health services for the diagnosis of mental illness and medication. This alarming trend became a priority for the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and the Criminal Justice Resource Center, the mental health provider at the detention facility. Both agencies worked together to plan and implement a mental health housing unit focused on the monitoring and treatment of detainees.
The Durham County Board of Commissioners approved funding for 10 additional detention officers who will participate in ongoing training to ensure the safety and security of the mental health population in the Durham County Detention Facility. The new mental health pod can house up to 24 inmates. There are preliminary plans to expand the mental health unit to the facility’s female population. An expansion would require additional staffing and resources to serve more inmates with mental health concerns.