Santa Rosa, CA – February 8, 2017 – On February 7, 2017, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors received an update on the implementation of its Stepping Up initiative, a nationwide commitment to reduce the number of mentally ill offenders housed in jail. As a part of that commitment, the Board approved several items related to inmate behavioral health services, including the schematic design of the new Adult Detention Behavioral Health Housing Unit.
Stepping Up is a national initiative sponsored by the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation. Sonoma County joins at over 300 counties nationwide and 26 in California in this effort.
“Sonoma County has a longstanding commitment to providing treatment to the mentally ill, including those housed in the jail. Despite the significant challenge created by a nationwide lack of community mental health hospitals and treatment beds, the County has continually identified new programs and resources to assist in the treatment of mentally ill inmates, and today’s actions are examples of that commitment,” said Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair Shirlee Zane.
The Adult Detention Behavioral Health Housing Unit, which will complete construction in 2018, will provide a positive therapeutic environment for up to 72 inmates while also meeting the security needs of the jail. It was developed to improve outcomes for mentally ill offenders housed in the jail, and includes staffing to ensure a smooth transition to community-based services when inmates are released, to provide continuity of care, and further enhance outcomes.
Additionally, the Board also approved an agreement to accept State funding to provide local services to restore competency of mentally ill offenders, accepted funding from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Petaluma Valley Hospital to provide medical assessments at the Crisis
Stabilization Unit, and agreements that will facilitate receiving federal funding to assist in the cost of providing inpatient medical care for inmates.