The trends are there throughout the country – all too often local jails are becoming home for those suffering acute mental illnesses – and there is evidence that it’s happening in Montgomery County.
According to figures from local officials provided for a recent Washington Post article, the number of those booked at the Detention Center in the past three years who need immediate mental health services has risen from 1,011 to 1,626, a 61 percent increase. At the same time, the total number of people being booked at the jail has fallen.
Now, some Montgomery County criminal justice leaders -- including State’s Attorney John McCarthy and County Police Officer Scott Davis, head of the department’s program that trains patrol officers to respond to mentally ill people in the field -- are speaking out in favor of establishing a mental health court in the County.
Robert Green, director of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, said one of the keys to any mental health court’s success will be to equip people with awareness and treatment they can use well after coming into contact with the officer or a jailer.
“This is a lifelong issue for many of these individuals,” he said. “The minute we open our doors, their challenges don’t go away.”