Shawnee County Jail officials to expand mental health aid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Shawnee County Department of Corrections says it’s expanding its mental health intervention program.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that officials are preparing to ask the Shawnee County Commission for authority to adopt a program next year to better identify inmates with mental health issues, intensify adherence to prescribed medication schedules and engage those juveniles and adults in group or individual counseling and therapy.

The expanded program could feature a 50-bed unit at the county jail for people suffering from psychosis. The cost of adding two floors to the jail’s general medical unit could be $7 million.

Corrections department director Brian Cole says a lack of funding for community services and insufficient space at state hospitals leaves the jail to deal with inmates who are more likely to struggle with mental health issues than in the past.

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