Reducing Jail Overcrowding by Opening New Mental Health Facility
The end of June marked a four-year project completion for Chatham County Officials as the Gateway Crisis Center for those suffering from mental health issues opened. Fox 28 Media published an article about the opening of the new facility, which includes a 24-hour walk-in facility for people in crisis, says Gateway Community Service Board CEO Mark Johnson. Guests may come voluntarily or can be transported by police or EMS. Once registered, they will receive clean clothing, meals and other amenities to comfort them and help them fight their mental health battles.
Opening this new facility will help reduce overcrowding in jails and prisons, as people struggling with mental illnesses will be brought to the facility instead of jail or prison. When individuals are brought to jail, they lose their benefits after a certain amount of time. “It often takes 60 to 90 days to reinstate your benefits, so they recidivate, and they end up back in jail,” Stone says. Many take drugs and are arrested and do not receive the mental health care they need, as they are stuck in jail. Sheriff Wilcher says they currently have over 300 people in jail that are on psychotropic drugs. He has been supporting the opening of the Gateway Crisis Center as it will reduce recidivism and provide the right services people need who are struggling with substance addiction and mental health problems. This will keep the community safer as people will have access to a facility that will help them and provide what they need to overcome addiction and help battle mental health problems they face.