U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Managing the Mental Health Population at the Broward Sheriff's Office

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 70 Issue: 3 Dated: June 2008 Pages: 62-64,66,67
Winifred McPherson
Date Published
June 2008
5 pages
This article describes the Broward Sheriff's Office's (Florida) system for managing mentally ill jail inmates.
The North Broward Bureau (NBB), one of the jail's five housing facilities, contains the medium general inmate population, the infirmary, and the Mental Health Unit. The Mental Health Unit contains 375 beds for male and female inmates who are experiencing severe symptoms of mental illness as well as inmates who require specialized housing and treatment services. Within the larger Mental Health Unit, there are sub-units for inmates classified in various categories based on level of psychiatric functioning and demonstrated institutional behavior. The "open" mental health sub-unit houses the general mental health population; and the "closed" sub-units house inmates who require some level of segregation for safety and security reasons. There are also specialty sub-units for intake, suicide watch, psychological evaluation, and transitional programs. Inmates with mental health issues are supervised primarily by the certified correctional staff, who oversee their housing, recreation programs, meals, and other activities. The certified staff are selected by administrators based on their work ethic and input from supervisors. They are given specialized training in the management of mentally ill inmates. The Mental Health Services Division consists of a licensed psychologist, a treatment supervisor, two doctoral interns, four mental health specialists, and two discharge planners. The BSO has contracted with a medical vendor to provide screening for mental health problems at intake, initial psychiatric evaluations, medication evaluations/renewals, crisis intervention, individual psychotherapy, and discharge planning. The internal and contracted mental health providers, along with certified staff, collaborate in a Special Needs Management Team meeting in making collective decisions on the best care for inmates while they are incarcerated. 1 table, 1 figure, and 6 notes