Sheriff Darr discusses plan to help inmates with mental health issues

Sheriff Darr discusses plan to help inmates with mental health issues

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Muscogee County Jail is working to make sure inmates with mental health issues have the resources they need.

Sheriff  John Darr said these resources include letting these inmates get more time outside of their cells and making sure they're involved in group activities.

"We're making sure that those individuals are getting the treatment they need for medical care, making sure that the facility is clean like is supposed to be, and that the staffing is up to the standards that the Department of Justice," Darr said.

Darr said an agreement to address the problems at the jail with the Department of Justice started in 1999. They were dealing with problems like lack of  security and an overcrowded jail. During his time as Sheriff, he said he has worked to address these problems.

"I think people are getting lost on how big of an accomplishment it is that these problems are no longer the primary focus here anymore. It was done by hard work of the men and women here at the jail," he said.

Darr said if steps weren't taken to eradicate these problems, the Department of Justice would step in and take over.

"The cost would be astronomical for the taxpayers in this county," he said.

Darr adds issues can't be taken care of without money from the city.

"We've had money that they've taken from other areas of the budget, so they haven't really funded mental health care. As we move forward I'm hoping to have the money from the city to deal with this issue," he said.

Darr said around 45 percent of the more than 1,000 inmates at the Muscogee County Jail are taking some type of psychotropic medicine, and 10 percent of the inmate population have some type of serious mental health issue.

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