Lubbock County taking the lead on mental health recovery in jail

Lubbock County taking the lead on mental health recovery in jails across the state

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LUBBOCK COUNTY, Texas -

Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe said about 90 percent of the inmates that walk through the Lubbock County Detention Center are struggling with some kind of addiction. 

The county is looking at several grants to fund drug detox programs at the jail, but Chief Deputy of Detention Operations Cody Scott said there is another layer that often goes unnoticed.

"Addiction is physical, but it's also mental. So we're also looking at the mental health side of that to be able to treat those individuals and give them the tools available that the we can provide them while they're in jail and hopefully tie them to tools they can use once they're released from jail," Scott said.

This is why Sheriff Rowe has been one of the leaders of the Texas Mental Health Training Initiative, which is a 40-hour jail mental health officer certification.

The idea started last year in five counties, including Lubbock, and has since been adopted statewide and across the nation.

Chief Deputy Scott said mental health recovery is a required step to any addiction solution, and communicating that to inmates in the detention center is the key to reducing the recidivism rate.

"It's not just the person that comes in with an addiction. A lot of what we see are mental health issues coming through the door. You never know what's going on in somebody's life, so to benefit all of the citizens of Lubbock County, if we can put a better person on the street, then that's what our goal is here," Scott said.

Lubbock County's mental health officer training certification will be offered in January 2020. 

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