Jail navigator helping inmates with mental health issues

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Almost 40% of the more than 700 inmates housed at the Taylor County Jail are on medication for mental health issues.

It’s why the city chose to hire a jail navigator to help those who need mental health care.

So far the jail navigator position has seen more than 100 inmates and has referred four to seek mental help in the position’s first month.

The position is meant to identify inmates in need of mental health treatment rather than jail time.

“Someone would be picked up by the police department we knew had a mental illness, they had long-standing treatment with us, or maybe an intellectual disability, and so we wanted to try and improve our opportunity to divert those people to treatment when it was appropriate,” says Betty Hardwick Center CEO Jenny Goode.

All three agencies say that right now this is just a Monday through Friday position, but eventually they hope to make this available all day every day.

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