On February 5, 2018, the Jefferson County jail openeda 64-bed Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) that focuses on the needs of inmates withsubstance abuse and mental health disorders. This unit utilizes programsstructured toward individual need and provides valuable resources for inmates.The goal is to enable inmates to successfully apply skills learned inside thefacility to life on the outside, resulting in reduced recidivism. Similarprograms at other detention facilities have reduced recidivism rates forinmates in the programs by as much as 66%.
Sheriff Jeff Shrader explains “recidivism ratesmeasure how often an inmate returns to jail within a certain amount of time. Ifwe can reduce recidivism, then we reduce our costs to house inmates, ultimatelysaving the tax payers money. The Behavioral Health Unit is one of many programswe’re implementing with this goal in mind.”
The BHU offers a variety of classes to includeAnger Management, Relapse Prevention, Alcoholics Anonymous, NarcoticsAnonymous, Occupational Readiness, and covers a range of topics using MoralReconation Therapy (MRT) techniques. MRT is a systematic treatment strategythat seeks to decrease recidivism among offenders by increasing moralreasoning. Its cognitive-behavioral approach combines elements from a varietyof psychological traditions to progressively address ego, social, moral, andpositive behavioral growth.
Involvement in the BHU is voluntary on behalfof the inmate, who are also vetted to ensure they are appropriate for the unit.In addition to jail staff such as counselors, medical, and mental healthprofessionals, outside treatment providers are involved in the program.