CHARLOTTE, N.C.- North Carolina’s first behavioral health unit inside a jail just opened Thursday in Charlotte.
Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden unveiled the new facility to a full crowd, including Congresswoman Alma Adams, County Commissioners Susan Harden, Mark Jerell, Susan Rodriguez-McDowell, and City Councilman Larken Egleston.
The unit has been planned for four months after city and county leaders pushed for improved mental health treatment for inmates.
“We recognized that we had an issue with mental illness in our population here at the jail. And, we decided to do something about it,” Sgt. Charles Pearson said.
The Sheriff’s Office partnered with Wellpath to provide psychiatrists and medications to inmates who need them. They also have access to anger management and cognitive behavior classes, and even yoga.
The unit can hold up to 28 people and the inmates are evaluated based on need. However, the sheriff said they’ll quickly outgrow it.
“We need more space, we’re going to need more staff, we’re going to need clinical people, doctors coming in,” McFadden said.
The end goal is to get the inmates ready to succeed once they’re released.
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