SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An innovative program that will deliver needed mental health services for inmates who are found incompetent to stand trial (IST) and save the State and County money is set to open in the San Bernardino County Jail.
Planned for an October start, the 20-bed unit is the first of its kind in the state. The therapeutic jail program will provide the same restoration of competency services, court-mandated assessments, and psychiatric stabilization services that are presently offered inside California’s state hospitals.
Funded by the California Department of Mental Health and operated by Liberty Healthcare Corporation, the program will save both the state and the county money by reducing long waitlists for state hospital beds, hospital per diem costs, lengths of patient stay, frequency of costly secure transports, and the risk of violence, suicide and trauma for mentally ill inmates, while improving the quality of care for mentally ill inmates.
“This partnership with the San Bernardino Sheriff will bring mental health services directly to inmates in the jail, which will improve continuity of care and save money at both the state and local level,” said Dr. Stephen Mayberg, director of the California Department of Mental Health. If the program is successful, officials hope to replicate the program in other counties throughout the state.
San Bernardino was selected as the pilot site after discussions with the Sheriff’s Department and County staff. The program will reimburse the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department’s custody costs as well as reduce costs by eliminating transportation and escorts needed to move inmates to and from state hospitals for court appearances. Meanwhile, courts and attorneys will have more convenient access to inmates. All security, food, and medical care will be provided by jail staff while all unit programming will be provided by Liberty Healthcare employees.
“The partnership with Liberty Healthcare Corporation will help to ensure timely treatment to inmates who have been found mentally incompetent to stand trial, expediting their criminal proceedings and free up limited space in the jails. We are excited to be part of a new innovative program in the state to help solve this issue,” stated Sheriff Rod Hoops.
About Liberty Healthcare Corporation
Liberty Healthcare Corporation (www.libertyhealthcare.com) has provided specialized and customized programs for mentally ill individuals in the criminal justice system for over 25 years. It is a recognized expert in the management of high risk, challenging populations in secure settings. Liberty currently operates the California Conditional Release Program for Sexually Violent Predators as well as programs for high risk populations nationwide. Liberty Healthcare is certified by the Joint Commission for its staffing services.