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County approves funds to hire jail nurse, expand mental health services

monroe-county-sheriff-car-and-jail.jpg

The jail funding measure passed in a 2-0 vote on Wednesday.

The Monroe County Commissioners have approved a million-dollar agreement to expand healthcare and mental health services inside the county jail.

At a council meeting Wednesday, jail commander Sam Crowe said the deal would bring a registered nurse and two mental health professionals into the jail full time.

“With the onset of COVID, last year and this year, we have seen a dramatic increase in the cases of mental health and severe mental health within the jail,” Crowe told the commissioners.

“We would like to start doing some programs … and at least get people maybe on the right foot when they get out of jail, get them on their medications, and then hopefully get them transitioned in some other type of care when they get out of jail,” he said.

Commissioners Penny Githens and Lee Jones ultimately approved the agreement but expressed disappointment that the funds were going to a jail.

“It's a very sad commentary on our society that jails are serving as our mental health providers,” Githens told Crowe before voting in favor of the deal.

The measure passed in a 2-0 vote; commissioner Julie Thomas was not present.

County councilor Geoff McKim had urged the commissioners to approve the funds, which he said was included in the 2022 county budget.

Holden Abshier contributed to this report.

 


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