Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $483,552)
The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office is applying for the BJA FY22 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program grant to enhance its services provided to those incarcerated in their county jail. The Kittitas County Jail serves as the only jail in rural Kittitas County for all the local and state law enforcement agencies as well as contracts with the Department of Corrections and US Marshalls. The Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with Comprehensive Healthcare, intend to address mental health needs that are increasing much like any other jail or prison is experiencing. To do this, they are applying for funding to hire more staff, in different areas related to mental health and substance abuse, increase training for those already working in this area, as well as all staff to assist all those incarcerated whom need assistance. This type of work not only effects those who are incarcerated but plays a bigger role in the communities where these people are released to. The Kittitas County Jail is built for 200 inmates and typically runs with an average daily population around 120. That number has decreased over the last two years because of the pandemic, but as they begin to reopen towards post pandemic it has been proven that more and more people being incarcerated need assistance from specific programing to ensure when they are released, they are set up for success and able to become a valuable member of the community rather then reoffend. Lowering recidivism is the main goal of the Kittitas County Jail to break the old mentality that jail is a punishment rather than a place that someone who needs help can gain it. Their past work with Comprehensive Healthcare has shown that by implementing these types of programs they can increase the likelihood that someone will be released from jails with tools and programs that will allow them to change their lives and better themselves, affecting those around them, and stay out of the judicial system. The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office has not received any type of JMHCP grant funding previously but anticipate that if awarded $483,552 as described in the purposed budget, this funding could assist in addressing an area that is in dire need of attention.