Detention Centers to Provide
New Mental Health Services
 

March 7, 2008 (KANSAS CITY, MO) – Ken Conlee, Director of Corrections for Jackson County and Nancy Leazer, Kansas City Jail Superintendent, announced today that the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City has awarded a grant to develop Crisis Intervention Teams for the staffs in both facilities.

Law enforcement agencies across the nation use Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) to safely and securely meet the needs of mentally ill inmates and to address their specific challenges.  According to advocates for the mentally ill, CIT enable detention center staff to respond more quickly and effectively to behavioral problems and potential safety risks.

“It is essential to the safety and well being of both inmates and the staff at the Jackson County Detention Center to recognize and respond appropriately to the special needs of the inmate population,” Conlee said. “This grant will ensure that the best training available will be provided to our staff.”

The training is essential with the number of mentally ill individuals making up a significant percentage of the overall inmate population.

“The shortage of mental health care in Missouri means these two jails have become the largest residential mental health facilities in the region,” said Guyla Stidmon, Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which will provide 24 hours of mental health training in each jail.

“We want to prepare officers to respond appropriately to jail incidents involving inmates with mental illness,” Stidmon said. “We are excited because with the Health Care Foundation’s support, local corrections officers, case managers, mental health and substance abuse counselors will be able to improve safety, link inmates to treatment and work more effectively with mental health services in jail settings.”

For more information regarding Crisis Intervention Teams, please contact Guyla Stidmon, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, (816) 931-0030.

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