RD460 - 2016 Compensation Board Mental Illness in Jails Report

Executive Summary:

In the month of June, 2016 the Commonwealth of Virginia supported 60 local and regional jails and jail farms. Of this number there are 24 county jails, 12 city jails, 23 regional jails and 1 jail farm. City and county jails are operated under the authority of the sheriff in that locality. The jail farm is operated under the authority of the locality it serves by an appointed superintendent. Regional jails are operated under the authority of a regional jail board or authority consisting of at least the sheriff and one other representative from each participating jurisdiction.

A survey of mental illness in Virginia jails was initially developed by DBHDS and staff of the Senate Finance Committee and Compensation Board. The Compensation Board posted the mental health survey on its website in July 2016 for completion by local and regional jails. With the support of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association and the Virginia Association of Regional Jails, the Compensation Board received surveys from 59 out of 60 local and regional jails, excluding the Danville City Farm which noted that it does not hold mentally ill offenders. The data in this report is as reported to the Compensation Board by the local and regional jails in their 2016 mental health surveys, submitted as of July 22, 2016.

The goal of the survey was to provide information to the Virginia General Assembly, the Compensation Board and the DBHDS regarding the incidence of mental illness among individuals incarcerated in Virginia jails, characteristics of this population and methods by which jails seek to manage mental illness within their facility. Survey questions directed jail personnel to report data as reflected for the month of June 2016, with the exception of treatment expenditures which were reported for the entire fiscal year (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). Significant changes to the survey instrument this year include the addition of questions that identify: 1) numbers of mentally ill inmates that are homeless, 2) numbers of mentally ill inmates that are veterans; 3) whether jails screen inmates held solely on simple marijuana possession charges; and 4) whether jails’ procedures for screening and assessments are adjusted for booking over weekends/holidays. Although there is reporting on federal and out of state inmates average daily population this year, the data regarding inmates with mental illness is reflective only of local and state responsible inmates housed in local and regional jails.