By Wendelyn Pekich, Wexford Health Sources, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This article appeared in Corrections Forum magazine, September/October 2013, pp. 38-40. It is featured here with the permission of the publisher.
Jails carry an obligation to help mentally ill detainees regain their legal competency to stand trial. In larger cities and counties, providing the necessary care can be manageable, but the challenges are much greater in rural areas of the country.
This article describes how officials in rural Arizona counties combined their ideas and resources to create a shared return-to-competency (RTC) program, centrally located in the Yavapai County Detention Center, Camp Verde. The program was launched in April 2010, serving defendants from Yavapai, Mohave, Coconino, Navajo, Apache, LaPaz, Gila, Graham, Yuma, and Pinal Counties and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.
By assisting detainees at a local level who otherwise would have waited for treatment by the state, the RTC program has sped participants’ stabilization while also producing significant cost savings for county taxpayers.
The program has been recognized with a National Association of Counties Courthouse Award in 2011 and most recently with a 2014 Innovation in Corrections Award from the American Correctional Association.
View the article here.
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