Derek Dowsett is the Producer of the County Seat. Now entering his 11th season of the program, he has received what he considers a "Crash Course" in County Government.

There are a number of exciting innovations being made to the criminal justice system to avoid warehousing people who are suffering a mental health problem. Counties have traditionally been the safety net for people who struggle with mental health. Unfortunately the demand for service is greater than the resources of many counties can supply.

This shortage of available resources for people who could use the help leads to waiting lists for services. Which means that the people who aren’t receiving treatment may try self-medication or going without. The growing trend is that these people are ending up in the jails before they are able to receive treatment. As a result the jails are becoming the treatment facility for people who have a mental health issue.

The good news is that the Sheriff’s Office, Mental Health Providers, and Counties are seeing the trend and turning it around.

This week on the program we will take a look at mental health courts. These are special courts setup to keep people out of incarceration and instead getting them into treatment programs. Our roundtable will look at how the Sheriff’s Office works with mental health providers in the county. We’ll also discuss the challenges that Sheriff’s around the state face when they are faced with public safety issues that involve a persons mental health.

Our Guests this week:

Sheriff Cory Pulsipher, Washington County
Ali Snow, Deputy, Washington County Sheriff’s Office
Mike Deal, Southwest Behavioral Health Center

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