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The following bar chart shows the number of calls received by the Collin County Sheri’s Oce and McKinney Police Department that were classied as mental health subjects. A GROWING RESPONSE
STEPPING IN FOR DIVERSION There are various points in which local entities can help divert people with mental illnesses from jail and into appropriate programs. 911 Dispatchers, police and county deputies have an opportunity to divert people with mental illnesses when a 911 call is received by collaborating with county health service providers.
Collin County Sheri’s Oce McKinney Police Department
Other Collin County emergency departments
LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
ARRIVAL AT JAIL
900 600 300 0 1.2K 1.5K
FIRST COURT HEARING
Detention ocers, a psychiatrist and a representative from
Peace ocers arrive on scene or encounter a person experiencing a mental health crisis.
Ocials determine if the case qualies for a special court hearing or a court- ordered treatment.
LifePath Systems screen the person for mental illness and risk of suicide.
THE COLLIN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE SERVES AS A DISPATCH FOR MANY EMERGENCY AGENCIES IN THE COUNTY, WHILE LARGER CITIES, SUCH AS MCKINNEY AND FRISCO, OPERATE THEIR OWN DISPATCH. SOURCES: COLLIN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE, MCKINNEY POLICE DEPARTMENTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Ocers may provide mental health referral information or assist the person to a treatment facility.
Some people are taken to an emergency room or DIVERSION POINT
LifePath Systems Competency Restoration Program: People in jail who are not competent to stand trial receive medication and education until they understand their charges.
temporary mental health facility to prevent harm to themselves or others until the person is stable.
SOURCES: COLLIN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE, LIFEPATH SYSTEMSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
program provides federal funds meant for supporting public health and miti- gating the spread of COVID-19. With an expected completion date of 2025, the expansion will convert the 24-bed inrmary at the detention center to a 450-bed facility, accord- ing to the county’s 2021 COVID-19 recovery plan. About 75 of the beds will be dedicated to inmates who need detoxes from alcohol or other substances. The county has selected an archi- tect for the $134.1 million building, and ocials are in bimonthly meet- ings to nail down the project scope. County Administrator Bill Bilyeu said the project will go out to bid in the fall or winter of this year to begin construction. Identifying the need Collin County received just under $201 million from the American Res- cue Plan Act’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. County commis- sioners approved these funds in August to be used for infrastructure that not only supports public health, but also “people with barriers to ser- vices,” the plan stated. This group includes people of color, low-in- come families and those with limited English prociency. County ocials considered com- ments from community members
during commissioners court meetings when deciding how to use the federal funds, according to the recovery plan. Frequent topics of discussion were COVID-19 contact tracing and the men- tal health of both the general public and inmates at the jail, the plan stated. Community input and trends observed by county ocials led to the decision to expand the jail’s inrmary. “When we were trying to separate out people that either were testing pos- itive for COVID[-19] or had close con- tact, it was hard to get them isolated out, and that made us really recognize even more so how small our inrmary was,” Bilyeu said, adding that many county jails also use their inrmaries for mental health purposes. The county’s recovery plan refer- enced the need to socially and phys- ically distance inmates due to the pandemic. Personal quarantines and isolation also resulted in an “unprec- edented escalation” of the opioid epi- demic, the report stated. “[The opioid addiction] crisis not only burdens the families and individ- uals of those suering from an addic- tion disorder, but it also overwhelms the treatment capacity of the Adult Detention Center inrmary when these individuals are brought to the jail,” the recovery report stated.
An inmate’s case is resolved as either guilty or not guilty. DISPOSITION
About 25% of the county’s average daily inmate population have mental health needs, according to a county analysis that spanned from 2015- 19. These needs include people on court-ordered medication, any level of suicide watch or alerts for mental illness, according to the report. Schizophrenia is one of the most common mental illnesses seen in the jail, LifePath Systems Director Tammy Mahan said. LifePath Systems, the county’s designated behavioral health and disabilities authority, collaborates with the jail and its sta psychiatrist. People who have schizophrenia interpret reality abnormally, and symp- toms of the disorder range from hallu- cinations to disorganized thinking and speech, according to the Mayo Clinic. Mahan said the way schizophre- nia symptoms manifest cause people with the disorder to frequently be charged with lower-level crimes. “That’s one of those issues we’ve been trying to work with, both with all of our local law enforcement as well as the jail and the sheri’s department, [to divert] those people,” Mahan said. “If they’re not a danger to the com- munity and a terrible crime wasn’t committed, if there’s any way [law enforcement] cannot arrest them, [it
RETURN TO COMMUNITY
is better to] take them into one of our services [instead].” Diversion and treatment options The Collin County Sheri’s Oce is one of the local law enforcement enti- ties working with LifePath Systems on jail diversion. When a deputy sheri responds to a call involving someone who may need mental health services, they have options depending on the severity of the situation, Sheri Jim Skinner said. A deputy sheri may provide refer- ral information to the person or fam- ily; help the person with voluntary
COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM
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