FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A $530,000 federal grant was awarded to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to provide mental health care for inmates. It’s a grant that Sheriff Rick Staly said is imperative for a community that lacks resources for those with mental health and substance abuse issues.
“If we can stop the revolving door, that would be my preference,” Sheriff Rick Staly. “Many of the people that get arrested, the root cause is a mental health issue or addiction issues.”
Chief Daniel Engert, the Chief of Court and Detention Services gave News 6 a tour of the facility on Thursday. He said the grant is designed to help inmates by providing medical screening, counseling, and medication. Inmates will also continue to receive those services once they’re released.
“The goal of this grant is to create a program where we can deliver services in house while they’re in jail and hand them off to the community provider for continuity of care that extends beyond their incarceration. That’s where we hope to see a difference in the pattern of behaviors that often times, you know, return,” Chief Engert said.
Chief Engert said the program will help 25 percent of the inmate population who have mental health issues and of that 25 percent, he said 77 percent suffer from substance abuse disorders. It’s the latest initiative at the Flagler County Jail. The other recently launched program is called Inside Out Dad, which helps men and shows them how to become better fathers.
“It’s a rigorous program. It’s 14 weeks long. It makes the inmate really assess themselves, look at themselves and how their actions affect their children,” said Sheriff Staly.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said the goal inside the jail walls goes beyond housing criminals, but giving people a second chance at life, through mental health care and life skills.
“If we can improve inmate outcomes, we improve our communities,” Chief Engert said.
The sheriff’s office said the mental health program will start next year.