State Funds To Help With Mental Health Services For Chenango Inmates
Published: May 28th, 2015
By: Shawn Magrath

NORWICH – Money recently allocated by the New York State Office of Mental Health is allowing the Chenango County Department of Mental Hygiene Services to explore new options when it comes to providing rehabilitation services for inmates at the county jail.

In response to the reduction of services to state-supported inpatient facilities – namely the Greater Binghamton Health Center in Broome County and the Elmira Psychiatric Center in Chemung County – the state OMH has tagged $160,800 to be shared between Chenango and Delaware counties.

According to Chenango Mental Hygiene Services Director Ruth Roberts, those funds will be used to support four full-time positions between the Chenango and Delaware county jails (one engagement and transitional support position in each county, and one care recovery position in each county). The aim of those positions, said Roberts, is to provide services to inmates that may keep them from reverting to the lifestyles that landed them in jail in the first place.

“When individuals are in jail, they often express that they want to change their lifestyle and turn things around. Too often, we see people leave the jail and go right back to their old environments, to those people places and things that cause them to not be able to follow through on those plans,” said Roberts. “We're hoping with additional support and services through that transition period that we’ll be able to see better overall health outcomes for these individuals. We're also hoping to see less recidivism in terms of committing other crimes that would send them back to the county jail or the state prison system.”

Roberts is currently working with mental health and jail administrators in Chenango and Delaware to put together an implementation plan in both counties.

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