INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction announced a series of pilot programs designed to increase access to mental health care for inmates in Indiana county jails.
The pilot programs will focus on individuals found unable to stand trial who are awaiting placement in the state psychiatric hospital network. Historically in Indiana, these individuals are forced to await the availability of a bed in a state psychiatric hospital before they can receive the competency restoration services required by law.
DMHA’s pilot programs will work with a variety of partners to provide these services in three new and different settings: jails, the community and private inpatient psychiatric settings.
“We know that there are too many people suffering from serious mental illness that end up in the justice system, and many county jails are not equipped to provide them the treatment that they need,” said Jay Chaudhary, DMHA director, in a news release.
The jail-based restoration pilot programs are being launched in Marion and Vanderburgh counties in partnership with community mental health centers Adult and Child Health and Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare Inc. The organizations will provide services directly to jail inmates, with a goal of restoring competency and resolving the criminal case much more quickly, rather than awaiting the availability of a state hospital bed.
A separate community-based restoration program will also pilot in Marion County, also in partnership with Adult and Child. It is geared toward providing competency restoration to individuals whom a court decides are safe to return to the community while awaiting competency restoration and will include therapy, skills training and legal education.
Finally, an inpatient pilot program called Project CREATE — COVID-Related Emergency Access to Therapeutic Environments — will transition county jail inmates throughout Indiana to partnering inpatient psychiatric providers.
The jail- and community-based pilot programs are already in early operation. Project CREATE should begin serving inmates by the end of this year.