The state awarded funds in response to a Request for Proposal submitted by a Seventh Judicial Partnership. Statewide, there were 15 applications, with ten awards. The award to the counties in the Seventh Judicial District, of $209,000 a year for five years, was the second-largest award given in the state. Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee is the project director.
Funds will go toward the cost of screening and treating inmates who screen positive for substance use with co-occurring mental health disorders, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Once the inmate is released from jail, treatments will continue through the Center for Mental Health; however, grant funds cannot be used for community-based therapy.
The Center for Mental Health will have full-time therapists on site at each of the Delta and Montrose County jails and part-time therapists at the Gunnison and San Miguel County jails, with a full-time care coordinator hired to provide care for inmates in the Montrose and Delta jails and to ensure that wraparound care is available following an inmate’s release. Care coordination will be a part of the therapists’ responsibilities in the Gunnison and San Miguel jails.
Savings created from shorter sentences for crimes involving substance abuse fund this program. Nationwide, 82.2 percent of inmates have substance abuse issues, and 55 percent have mental health issues.
The State of Colorado is expecting that this therapy-based program will help inmates recover from their addictions (and co-occurring mental illnesses), so that recidivism is less likely, which will ultimately save money.