Today: May 29 , 2020

Yavapai County Meets with Behavioral Health Experts to Discuss Collocated Facility at Criminal Justice Center in Prescott

28 January 2020  

Is a Colocated Behavioral Health Facility the answer?

Yavapai County Sheriff Captain Jeff Newnum; Assistant County Administrator Jack Fields; Yavapai County Sheriff Captain Brian Hunt; Falcon’s Senior Expert Dr. Robin Timme, Psychologist; Project Director Ron Ecker (Kitchell CEM); Yavapai County Facilities Director Kenny VanKeuren; Yavapai County Assistant Facilities Director Brandon Shoults 

In December of 2019, several representatives from Yavapai County, Prescott and Prescott Valley Police Depts., and nearly every medical organization located in Yavapai County that has a Behavioral Health (BH) component, met with Falcon Inc. to discuss the need for a Collocated Behavioral Health facility near the Criminal Justice Center being built in Prescott.  According to Falcon’s website, “the Falcon team aims to take behavioral health services to new heights, ensuring its utmost potential by delivering real, sustainable results for County and State jurisdictions.”

Yavapai County Board of Supervisors Chairman Craig Brown said, “I am proud to see County staff and community partners working together to provide necessary Behavioral Health services to Yavapai County residents.  This new collocated facility will provide a terrific amount of support to those in need.”

Falcon’s CEO and Founder, Dr.  Elizabeth Falcon recently stated, “Yavapai County is leading the nation in its efforts to break the cycle of recidivism -- by reforming and restructuring its criminal justice system to focus on proactive treatment solutions and community safety. Yavapai County’s leaders are to be commended for taking prompt action and adopting a prudent plan for providing the best evidence-based treatment resources to the people entrusted to their care and custody.”

Chief Deputy David Rhodes, who represented the Sheriff’s Office at the meetings said, “Meeting with Falcon, and most of the Behavioral Health Professionals in Yavapai County, provided confirmation that the Sheriff's office is seeing great success in our efforts to reduce recidivism and provide behavioral health assistance to those in need.  I look forward to seeing a collocated behavioral health facility at the new Criminal Justice Center in Prescott.  This new facility will allow us to increase our efforts in a cost-effective and efficient manner.”

A few of the key objectives of the meetings included, determine proposed re-entry services to be offered at a collocated facility and to create a vision, mission and conceptual framework for the facility.

Some of the issues and objectives that were addressed during the meetings included:

  1. Before 2015 there was little in the way of formal coordinated services between the jail and community BH providers.
  2. Camp Verde Jail was known to have nearly 50% of its population diagnosed with Serious Mental Illness (SMI).
  3. The 2015 Chinn and DLR studies arrived at recommendations to reduce recidivism which have been implemented in subsequent years by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO).
  4. Tour and Breakout Workshop discussion of local relationship and strategic partnerships to achieve desired goals. 

 Sites that were visited during the meetings included the Camp Verde Detention Center, Gurley Street Jail, Pronghorn Psychiatric, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic and the proposed site for the Criminal Justice Center & Collocated Services Center. The objective of these visits was to examine system flow, to obtain a firsthand context of operations and needs, and to understand strengths and challenges of operations.

An extensive question and answer time was held and here are some of their findings: 

  1. Collaboration between YCSO, Release Coordinators and local Behavioral Health providers is seen as an area of strength in Yavapai County.
  2. Local Judges are embracing the Reach Out efforts, information and screening tools. 
  3. Reach Out’s current location in the Camp Verde Jail is not ideal; Closer proximity to booking activities will create system efficiencies.
  4. The current Gurley Street Jail facility is not conducive to safe, long-term inmate detention.
  5. The process for responding to emergency calls for Emotionally Disturbed Person (EDP) is overburdening law enforcement resources, resulting in prolonged transfers of custody and ultimately delaying coordination and delivery of urgent crisis care.
  6. There is a consensus among all those present that there is a need for a collocated facility.

 Falcon’s Senior Expert Dr. Robin Timme, Psychologist, stated “Falcon and Yavapai County are working together to right-size the new collocated re-entry and behavioral health facility, to make sure the spaces we build are actually needed and are designed to support the best evidenced-based treatment programs. We are conceptualizing the programming first, and then recommending what space is necessary to implement the programming.” Dr. Timme went on to explain, “By making services and treatment available immediately for individuals with serious mental illness (at the first moment the need is identified), Yavapai County’s approach is to help them stabilize and recover, and to avoid the criminal justice system altogether.  This is how we break the cycle of criminalizing mental illness”.

Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She will be leaving for new adventures on May 15, 2020.