Cole County Commission Approves $200,000 Grant for Jail

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Commission approved a nearly $200,000 grant Wednesday that would fund mental health services for inmates at the Cole County Jail. The Missouri Department of Public Safety still has to give approval to the grant in late June.

Cole County Sheriff Greg White said the grant money would provide a variety of mental health services to the inmates, including substance abuse training and therapy. The grant would allow the department to bring in a therapist, a counselor, and a community services worker from an outside mental health provider.

"The first part is allowing us to have the additional staff, not our staff, but outside provider staff to do substance abuse screening. And then the theory is there would be some level of substance abuse education," White said.

In addition White said for inmates that qualified, there would be a 20 bed housing area for serious and in-depth substance abuse counseling. The counselors would then be able to follow up with the inmates and help them reintegrate with their families and community.

White said having mental health services for the inmates will hopefully solve a variety of problems.

"If we reduce the recidivism rate by lowering the addiction rate, we save money for Cole County residents, we save money for the state of Missouri," White said. "We're also doing a very human thing in that reintegration of people with their families."

White said if the Missouri Department of Public Safety approves the grant in late June, the department hopes for implementation in August.