It is the ignorant actions of sincere peace officers which often causes these unnecessary incarcerations. Good cops are trained to deal with bad dudes. They are trained to use overwhelming force until compliance is attained. But for the delusional psychotic, this is the most harmful means of attaining compliance. It leads to most likely a worsening of the mental illness, injury, or death. A Tulsa jury is currently deciding how much damages to award the estate of Elliot Williams. Elliot died of starvation & dehydration because the staffs of the Tulsa jail assumed he was faking a paralysis. They deliberately put his food & water just out of his reach as he lay naked on a cold concrete floor for 3 days. He got arrested for a severe mental illness, at an Owasso hotel. His paralysis stems from an altercation while bringing him into the jail.
The Tulsa County Jail's new mental health cell block is still very much a local prison. But it meets federal and state standards for providing care to the suicidal & mentally ill. This means the county doesn't have to send the suicidal inmate to a hospital at the sheriff's expense. The lifesaving care and monitoring can be done within phase 1 (6 individual cell rooms) of the first pod. The psychiatrist and psychologist are officing within the same pod. nurses are on duty '24/7'. All the CIT detention officers are trained to identify and respond to indicators and be a part of the treatment team. The whole pod which houses the first 3 phases is full of sunlight from the high vaulted cieling where massive windows flood the building with sunlight all day long.
As the person moves past the suicidal risk, they are given another short transfer to one of the 10 phase-2 private cell rooms for further evaluation and progress. If their personal conduct meets criteria, they may move quickly to phase 3 and open interaction with others in similar stabilization. Each person in phase 3 has a separate room with a bed & toilet, but they spend their days in the common area just outside that room, where the detention officers allow constructive inmate activities and peer support. At night they are in their own locked cells so that even if one inmate is emotionally unstable, the others can continue getting therapeutic circadian balancing (which is essential to stabilizing mood disorders). these people need more focused attention while their treatment is still not significantly established.
When the patient's stability reaches acceptable standards, they are moved to a 2nd pod where phase 4 is housed. This unit has open barrack-style housing. nearly 100 mentally ill inmates can be housed here. Again, lighting is plentiful from large high windows All the walls are painted a light blue which emotionally supports a peaceful disposition. The patients are housed here until their mental illness is effectively brought to a manageable state and they can be moved into the general population at the other pods.
Here's a recent news story about the Crisis Intervention training. You can help by asking your legislator to insist on providing law enforcement with an alternatives to incarceration. State mental hospitals need to be restored, so people can get well and the public can be spared the high cost of incarceration. Senator Joe Newhouse has called for line-item budgeting of public mental health beds run by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, so cops and courts can avoid the more expense costs of incarceration. Sick people hare having their civil rights unjustly stolen from them by desperate law enforcement agencies, seeking to restore peace in our communities.
There are other innovations, also. The Individuals are spared a police record (provided there are no victims), if they stay in the crisis center. They can be forcebly ordered there for up to 24 hours while a psychiatric solution is being sought. But if the person volunteers to stay, they can hold them for 5 days while treatment is given to stabilize the underlying contributors to their instability. This has saved police departments several thousands of dollars. When the individual is ready to leave the outpatient facility, a specially formated i-pad is assigned to them. It only functions as a tele-medicine device so the individual can instantly speak to a case worker, therapist, or medical professional. The ipad has a tracker and uses mobile data connections. The Grand Lake Mental Health network is a nonprofit corporation which receives state funding from ODMHSAS. This doesn't prevent all incarcerations, but it is effective in many cases.
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...