Lieutenant Governor Crouch Visits Clark County Jail to Discuss Mental Health Programs | New

CLARK COUNTY – As Clark County Jail expands mental health services to inmates, state official stopped by to learn about programs and opportunities for other parts of the state .

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch met with Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel and jail officials on Wednesday for a tour of the jail and to discuss the facility’s mental health and life skills programs, which have grown over the past year.

Crouch said she came to Clark County to see how Noel “does things differently on the continuum of care” at the prison, saying the programs help improve the quality of life for inmates at the facility.

“The role model Sheriff Noel has here was very intriguing and interesting, and I certainly think he could be a role model for other prisons in the state of Indiana, as they benefit from this continued attention from the moment they enter. in the prison and from the moment they re-enter the community, ”she said.

The prison has a contract with LifeSpring Health Systems to provide behavioral and mental health care, and a life learning program is intended to help inmates develop skills to re-enter the community.

This partnership has recently expanded. LifeSpring nurse practitioner Whitney Lyon previously served a bi-weekly sentence but will soon be available once a week at the prison. A full-time therapist is also available Monday through Friday.

Over a year ago, the prison started employing a full-time program director focused on life skills and the GED program, Noel said.

“The point of this part is to give people the skills and to think about how, when I get out of here, how do I get a job and get better, so I hope we don’t see them here again.” , said Noel.

Lyon, which specializes in psychiatric mental health, has been in prison since January. It’s important to build relationships with those she serves, she said.

She often sees people struggling with anxiety, depression and psychosis, and many of those who end up in prison have experienced trauma in their lives, she said. She also cares for people struggling with drug addiction and addiction issues.

“If we can get them to take their meds and get better, I hope they can be more successful and not end up here,” said Lyon.

Noel said these programs help inmates get what they need to be successful.

“We start giving them help while they are in jail, there is a continuum of help when they get out of jail, they are enrolled in services like Medicaid or [Medicare] so that they can take care of themselves when they get out of prison, ”Noel said.

These programs have had a significant impact at the prison, Noel said.

“The most important thing is that we are starting to see a slowdown,” he said. “Our prison population is down slightly, which is a good thing, so hopefully we start to see a drop in the number of repeat offenders who do not return to prison.”

Crouch said the programs were not only “aimed at saving taxpayer dollars, but also saving lives and equipping these people with the skills and practice to overcome what they were faced with in terms of mental illness “.

She highlighted the negative effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health.

“As Lieutenant Governor, the state is very interested in the increase in mental health issues that we have here as a result of the pandemic,” said Crouch. “We know the human cost of the pandemic is enormous and will grow exponentially in the years to come. One in five Hoosiers struggle with a mental illness or addiction, and sadly we see a lot of these Hoosiers in our prisons. “

“So how do you provide the care and health that they need so that they can – while they are in prison – recover, and then when they get out of prison, be able to re-enter the community,” she said. .

She said she has spoken with state lawmakers to resolve this issue and discuss implementing similar programs in other communities. The state will likely look for ways to fund these programs.

“The state will look into this and probably prepare for the 2023 budget session with recommendations on how we can take what Sheriff Noel has done here and consider adapting this model to the rest of the state,” Crouch said.

Crouch said small prisons in more rural communities typically don’t have the same resources. She is hoping for a more regional, statewide approach following a similar model “where we are able to reach more Hoosiers while they’re in our prisons.”

“We can have them in our prisons and we can release them, and they can continue the life that brought them to our prisons, or we can support them and hopefully change their lives,” he said. she declared.

Noel said mental illness and addiction can affect any family, and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office “tries to take every tool in our arsenal to figure out how to help people.”


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