Cobb County Sheriff Craig Owens to provide inmates 24/7 mental health services
Cobb County Sheriff Craig Owens recently announced that his office is implementing a service beginning this month that will provide 24/7 mental and behavioral health services to jail inmates.
In creating the program, Owens said, “Many of the men and women in our custody would likely never have entered the criminal justice system if someone ensured they had access to quality mental health services at various stages of their lives. From intake to discharge, we are committed to getting our detainees the help they need so they never have to walk back through our doors again.”
Per Owens, his office has budgeted about $2 million for mental health resources in its 2021-2022 budget but points out that the number of detainees in custody will dictate the varying annual cost of the program.
Credited with being the first sheriff’s office in the state of Georgia to implement this service, Owen’s office is partnering with Wellpath to help administer the program. The team will consist of a group of nurses and be led by a full-time psychiatrist that will use American Psychiatric Association techniques to assess and treat patients suffering from mental health issues.
Zela Guirola, a vice president with Wellpath, said the group will seek to continue providing support to inmates upon their release. The program will begin around mid Nov. 15.