A new wing at the Adams County Detention Center sets a new standard for treating people with mental issue, according to Sheriff Mike McIntosh. “It’s not just the people we bring in who benefit, …
A new wing at the Adams County Detention Center sets a new standard for treating people with mental issue, according to Sheriff Mike McIntosh.
“It’s not just the people we bring in who benefit, but it sets our whole community up for success,” McIntosh said. “It’s one of those missing pieces that we are able to put together now. We are making sure we are taking the best care of those folks that we can while they are in our custody.”
McIntosh and the Adams County Detention Facility staff cut the ribbon on the $3 million renovated wing Dec. 13 but Capt. Gene Claps said there were still some last minute punch-list items to be completed. The facility was scheduled to be up and running before Christmas.
Community Reach has provided the treatment and care of behavioral health disorders inside the jail since 2008, with more than 12 therapists and transitional employees working with inmates during their incarceration and after release.
As part of the new program, Community Reach has trained 10 deputies on suicide prevention methods and how to handle security inside the new mental health wing.
Abigail Tucker, clinical director for Community Reach Center, said Reach staff will continue offering services to the entire jail population, if needed, but will work out of the new wing.
“There are some folks who will be housed here — they are maybe suicidal or otherwise at risk and need direct support,” Tucker said. “But there are other individuals that will come down for groups or to see a nurse prescriber. So the CNA’s will not only manage the flow into and out of the pod, but they will be able to manage medication as well.”
Inmates that need special mental health help have been treated in a general medical wing, occupying roughly 90 percent of the beds there. Clapp said it will serve the jail well to separate inmates that are physically injured from the patients that need different kinds of help.
“This is huge new ability to treat these folks and provide better quality than what we’ve done in the past,” Clapp said. “There will be more one-on-one than we have provided in the past.”
It’s a program that’s unique to Adams County, Tucker said.
“We’ve toured many other facilities in the state over the years, and they all have taken an existing unit and done the best they can,” Tucker said. “This is the only jail in Colorado that has a specific unit geared to this intent. And you see that every where you turn, whether it is the lighting or understanding the visuals or just keeping staff safe.”
It gives the inmates it houses a great chance to treat their issues and succeed.
“Nobody wants to see anybody with mental health or substance abuse issues incarcerated,” Tucker said. “But we are very pleased with our shared values that if they are incarcerated, they are going to get the best environment and support and the best care they can.”
All told, the new dormitory-style facility has room for 32 inmates at a time, both men and women. Cells include padded isolation rooms for violent inmates, individual cells for inmates that are not ready to mix with others and cells for two or more inmates at a time.
“On the end, we have quad cells, with room for four people,” Claps said. “That’s in preparation of getting out of the facility or out into the general population.”
There is even an interior “yard” toward the end of the facility where inmates can stretch their legs and exercise.
“We are really excited about this because health and wellness is part of the recovery,” Tucker said. “So for people to have the chance to see daylight and engage in exercise is we know will be a huge part of them getting better.”
Inmates cannot see into each other cells — a wall separates the row of cells on one side of wing from the other — but jail staff can see everything. A central office overlooks the entire complex of cells, and cameras watch every angle.
“The ability to come into this mental health unit and have clinicians and group sessions and treatment all in this area is better for them,” Claps said. “Our goal is to get them recovered and out of this facility and going on and benefiting society.”
Claps said he’s eager to turn the key and start using the new wing.
“Seeing the effect of this will take a little time,” Claps said. “It won’t be an instant relief, but we will see what this will be able to do and how effective we can do about turning people around and sending them out in better condition than when they arrived.”