Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office starting more mental health services

Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office starting more mental health services.

The Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office is going to start more mental health services.

They hope the increase in services will help change the lives of inmates.

"We're averaging about six inmates a day in our high-risk cells," Superintendent of Sangamon County Jail Larry Beck said.

The expansion is giving more inmates a chance to get any additional mental help they may currently need.

"It's been a vision for sheriff since I came here. There's been a need for mental health in the jail setting," Beck said.

"Lots of these problems are not necessarily serious problems but with an anger buildup. They can become explosive," Social Worker Gene Brodland said.

The jail currently has a mental health professional on site for 28 hours, a week. However, after February 2, the professional will be there for 40 hours a week.

As of now, it will just be one, full-time person at the mental health center for the jail.

"I am very pleased with that program," Brodland said,

The increased hours are in hopes to reduce the number of those reincarcerated.

"We want to be able to quickly identify those individuals and once they stabilized, provide the assistance that we can to get them back out into the community. Put them into environments that will help them," Beck said.

It also allows the program to have more time to help more people.

While the program will cost an additional $3,500 a month, taxpayers will not have to pay a cent of it. Banks said that is in thanks to changing a phone vendor for the jail as well as money that is spent a the jail’s commissary.

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