By Mike Kruzman /

The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office and county officials are close to securing a contract with Community Mental Health to provide further services at the jail.

Undersheriff Jeff Warder told the County Board of Commissioner’s Public Safety and Infrastructure and Development Committee, Monday, that they were looking to move their inmate mental health services from Advanced Correctional Healthcare (ACH) to Community Mental Health. The Sheriff’s Office had already entered into a partnership with CMH in 2016 to create a diversionary program for those with mental health disorders, substance abuse and addiction issues that Warder called “very successful.” He said they were recently notified that due to the pandemic, grant funding to support their mental health services was ending. Warder told the Committee that the purpose of the grants are really to get the programs started and then to place where they are self-sustaining, anyway. He said ACH has been a great a partner and they were not disappointed in their work, but that they feel CMH can better serve their needs.

The Sheriff’s Office’s idea for supporting the change is to carve out the $173,000-mental health portion of their ACH contract and reallocate it to CMH. A memo to Commissioners from Lt. Tarnesia Pringle reveals that for that, CMH will provide 70 hours a week of mental health coverage, including weekends and holidays. They will have a full-time and part-time professional on site, will provide case management, provide psychiatric consultation as needed, and meet daily with inmates in distress or on suicide watch.

The Committee approved the request unanimously and it will now go to the full Board for final approval.