SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif- The new 38.6-million dollar mental health facility at the California Men's Colony is now finished and admitting inmates.
"There's a very large issue with inmates being suicidal or wanting to create self harm," said Michelle Groves, the Correctional Health Services Administrator at the California Men's Colony. The facility was built and equipped for that very reason. "Anything that has an ADA grab bar, closure plates are installed to prevent them from being able to tie off and hang themselves," said Groves.
The beds are bolted to the ground and sinks and toilets are also fool proof. "All of the sinks and toilets the bubblers were placed on so that you would also not be able to tie off," said Groves. The facility can house up to 50 inmates at a time and their stay is short lived. "Our goal is to stabilize them and return them back to normalcy as soon as possible, so the goal here is to have an inmate admitted here 10 days or less depending on the need."
A need that can be large for this particular type of prisoner. "Those that are very unstable who need to be receiving the acute treatment to stabilize them so that way we could either send them either back to general population or off to the Department of State Hospitals," said Groves.
All rooms and most recreational areas have rooms that only allow one inmate in at a time and the high security treatment facility has several therapy rooms. "We have treatment modules, it allows them to sit in here comfortably without handcuffs so that they can communicate without custody staff being present," said Groves.
CMC began admitting inmates this week, as of Wednesday there were 18. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation about 25-percent of men inmates need mental health treatment and about 38-percent of women inmates.
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