KeepHealthCare.ORG – Winnebago County Jail seeks partnership for new mental health program
John Sadler, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Published 11:21 a.m. CT July 12, 2018
Winnebago County Sheriff’s Squad(Photo: USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin file photo)Buy Photo
OSHKOSH – Patients who find themselves in jail waiting for a transfer to a mental health facility may soon be able to begin their treatment early.
A proposed agreement between the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services would provide care to mental health patients in jail awaiting transfer to a mental health facility. The Jail-Based Competency Restoration Program is in effect in nine counties, DHS spokeswoman Elizabeth Goodsitt said.
The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors must approve the measure, which would cost the county nothing, with the Department of Health Services reimbursing all costs.
RELATED: Oshkosh schools get $460,000 for security cameras, shatterproof windows, training
RELATED: Winnebago County sheriff’s lieutenant talks about plane crash
RELATED: Citations at Country USA 2018, including for underage drinking, down by nearly half
If a judge finds a patient not competent to stand trial, authorities could move the patient to jail while awaiting transfer to a mental health facility. Matz said an average of around five patients a year meet this description.
He said the order patients are moved to facilities is based on need. “It’s based on the severity of their illness … so if somebody comes in that has a higher need, then you can get pushed back,” he said. “Many times they wait here a while, and that’s unfortunate. Jail is not … it shouldn’t be the placeholder, but there’s not enough beds.”
Goodsitt said the program is only open to those who were deemed not competent but likely to regain their mental competency.
She said the programs to restore mental competency help the patients in the process by helping them understand the court system and how to formulate their defense.
The Judiciary and Public Safety Committee approved the proposal on Monday. It will next need approval from the county’s Personnel and Finance Committee before heading to the full County Board.
Read or Share this story: https://oshko.sh/2upOhQB