Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Friday, October 29, 2021 at 2:38 p.m.
When someone’s behavior attracts the attention of law enforcement, their actions might really just be a symptom of their mental health or substance abuse issues.
That’s why Spokane now has a Regional Stabilization Center that gives people in crisis, a new place to get help.
“This facility is a new, much needed tool to break the cycle that can trap people in the criminal justice system,” explained Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward.
Officers now have the option of bypassing the county jail and delivering people, suspected of non-violent crimes, for treatment at the center.
“Especially, if you suspect they may be suffering from a substance use disorder or a mental health illness. This is a great way to offer them services and divert their charges,” emphasized Sergeant Jay Kernkamp of the Spokane Police Department.
Those services include diagnosis of mental problems along with the center’s staff prescribing the most appropriate medications.
Doctors and nurses can also dispense on-site drugs that can help ease a patient’s withdrawal symptoms.
“This is going to reduce the population in our jail. This is going to reduce the bookings. It gives our law enforcement another place to go when somebody is faced with a mental health crisis, predicted Spokane County Commissioner Josh Kerns.
The Pioneer Human Services staff don’t want the center to serve as a revolving door so, when patients have completed their treatment, they can stay at the facility until they find housing, other than the street.
“So when someone leaves we want to make sure it’s back to a stable home environment. It’s to a place where they have supportive or long-term housing, or a place that can help them with longer-term treatment. And, until that place is ready for a safe, warm hand off, we’ve got a place for them to stay,” pledged Ariane Schmidt of Integrate Technology.
And, in most cases, patients receive care at the center at no cost to them.
The Regional Stabilization Center represents a great opportunity for people to once again, lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
Local law enforcement has already started identifying people who are ready to take advantage of the services offered inside the unique facility.