State senators and commissioner tour the new Madison County jail to check in on mental health grant
JACKSON, TENN (WNBJ)-
State commissioner on mental health and substance abuse services Marie Williams, state senators Ed Jackson, and Ferell Hail and many health care workers and law enforcement toured the new mental health wing of the new Madison County jail, the direct result of a nearly 1.3-million-dollar grant from the state
"Being able to come down and see what takes place and how that money is spent. And more than that, the lives that are changed by these dollars. It's important that when we spend dollars, that we get results. And what we've seen here in Madison County is an excellent example of well spent state dollars," said District 18 senator Ferrell Hail (R).
When the jail opens, they will have full time staff to help those suffer from mental health issues and rooms to evaluate them
District 27 Senator Ed Jackson (R) spoke about the importance of the mental health help people are getting in west Tennessee, "It's making changing people's lives instead of people being incarcerated keep coming back into the prison, to jails, they are able to get some training, some counseling, things that they need.”
The commissioner for mental health and substance abuse services Marie Willians says Madison County is an example for the rest of the state and country when it comes to law enforcement dealing with mental health, “We know that when you're struggling with mental health and you're not involved in treatment, that sometimes bad things can happen because you're not in a good place. What we also know is that going to jail is not where you need to go when you have a mental health issue and you're not in a good place. And so, programs like this, transportation diversion.”
An unmarked van is used for transportation to cut down on stigmatism. Those vans are used to bring people to get the mental health they need in the jail or at one of the partner facilities, Pathways mental health and Aspell recovery center.
Senator Jackson said they want to enable other communities to follow Madison counties lead, “there's no question that that we will go back and look at doing more of this across the state.”
Construction on the jail is expected to be complete in April and the facility will open after they are able to move in and finish hiring staff.