RD485 - 2017 Compensation Board Mental Illness in Jails Report

Executive Summary:

In the month of June, 2017 the Commonwealth of Virginia supported 59 local and regional jails and jail farms. Of this number there are 24 county jails, 12 city jails, 22 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 to identify mental illness in Virginia jails was initially developed by staff of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), staff of the Senate Finance Committee, and staff of the Compensation Board. The Compensation Board distributed a mental health survey in July 2017 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 55 out of 59 local and regional jails, excluding Charlotte County Jail, Franklin County Jail, Sussex County Jail, and the Danville City Farm. Although a survey was completed by Prince William-Manassas Regional Jail, their data regarding the number and diagnoses of mentally ill was not in the correct format. Due to a number of circumstances, the jail was unable to resubmit its corrected data prior to analysis of survey data. Therefore, the data included in this report is from 54 out of 59 local and regional jails. The data in this report is as provided to the Compensation Board by local and regional jails in their 2017 mental health surveys, submitted as of August 22, 2017.

The goal of the survey is to provide information 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 for the month of June 2017, with the exception of treatment expenditures which were reported for the entire fiscal year (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017).

Significant changes to the survey instrument this year include the addition of questions that identify: 1) number of inmates screened using the Brief Jail Mental Health Screen (BJMHS) or the Correctional Mental Health Screen (CHMS); 2) number of those screened utilizing the BJMHS or the CHMS that were recommended for a further comprehensive mental health assessment; and 3) if state funding were available to assist jails with mentally ill populations, in which area would it be most beneficial. Although the report includes statistics on the average daily population of federal and out of state inmates housed in jail this year, the data regarding inmates with mental illness is reflective only of local and state responsible inmates housed in local and regional jails.