The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s, which serves the city of Loma Linda, was recently recognized for their work with inmates who suffer from mental disabilities or disorders. Below is the department's announcement detailing the honor.
An innovative program that delivers needed mental health services for inmates who are found incompetent to stand trial is the recipient of the 2013 Council of Mentally III Offenders Best Practices Award.
The Restoration of Competency program, called ROC, is operated by Liberty Healthcare Corporation inside the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, which serves Loma Linda.
The award was presented on March 13, at the annual conference of the Forensic Mental Health Association of California. Terry Fillman, Health Services Administrator for San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, received the award on behalf of the department.
“This program provides timely treatment to individuals found incompetent to stand trial and allows for speedier trials. We are very pleased with the quality of the treatment program,” Mr. Fillman said. The Council of Mentally III Offenders’, or COMIO’s, annual survey identifies and recognizes outstanding California-based programs that have a positive impact on mentally ill offenders at either the state or the local correctional institutional or community level.
The California Department of State Hospitals funds The ROC program, operating since January 2011.
In January 2012, a California Legislative Analyst Office report titled “An Alternative Approach: Treating the Incompetent to Stand Trial” found that the ROC program saved San Bernardino County $200,000 and the State of California $1,200,000 in its first nine months of operation and recommended that the program be expanded. The successful program is now in its third year and Liberty is preparing to launch a second ROC program in Riverside County in April 2013.
The ROC program was found to reduce long waitlists for state hospital beds and shorten the length of time it takes to restore defendants to competency. In addition to reduced risk of violence, suicide, and trauma for mentally ill inmates, the quality of care for mentally ill inmates was improved. At the same time, the County was able to save money from fewer costly, secure transports to the state hospital and it receives custody reimbursement from the state for the ROC beds. Courts, attorneys, and family members also have more convenient access to inmates, which promotes better services.
“Our partnership with Liberty Healthcare has brought a high quality mental health treatment program into the San Bernardino County jail that provides needed treatment while saving the taxpayers money,” stated Sheriff John McMahon. “We are very pleased to part of this innovative program."