A study done in 2006 by the Justice Department estimated that more than half of America’s prison and jail inmates have symptoms of a mental health problem. over a period of time, those involved with substance addictions develop mental health issues, where some then are treatable and other are not. The Justice Department also estimates that less than one third of those with problems are getting treatment behind bars.
Although a number of model programs have emerged in many parts of the country, services for people living with mental illnesses are often fragmented and difficult for families and consumers to find and use. Sheriff David Byrnes is approaching the issue in a two fold process. The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office has developed a Crisis Response Team as a result of a comprehensive examination of the current procedures for dealing with mental health consumers within our community.
The primary goal of the Kaufman County Crisis Response Team is to reclaim a sense of safety and security in a time of crisis. Crisis Team calls are dispatched through the emergency 911 system. Team members are able to fully focus on the emotional and practical need of the family and / or individual in crisis, and to help them receive needed support, and to refer them to outside agencies for further support.
Sheriff David A. Byrnes hopes that this program will demonstrate what can be accomplished when authorities, the community, and mental health officials work together.