The Durham County Sheriff's Office announced Oct. 3 that the Durham County Detention Facility will be improving its mental health services thanks to a combination of county money and a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The money, totaling $55,205 from the county and more than $228,000 from the DOJ, will be used to set up the Jail and Mental Health Collaboration Project.
The county's Criminal Justice Resource Center and the sheriff's department will cooperate on the project to improve the identification, screening and tracking process for mental illnesses among detainees, said Gudrun Parmer, the director of the Criminal Justice Resource Center.
Parmer said the UNC School of Social Work will contribute research on screening practices. Tonya VanDeinse, a clinical assistant professor in the school, will serve on the project's executive steering committee.
“I think initiatives such as the Jail and Mental Health Collaboration Project play a vital role in addressing the needs of individuals, particularly those with mental illness who often get stuck in a cycle of recidivism," VanDeinse said in an email.