Sheriff Prummell addresses mental heath protocols within jail facility

Corrections Deputies are trained in life saving skills and suicide prevention through multiple medias.  Initial training in life saving skills and first aid is conducted while in the basic recruit academy.  Certification for CPR and first aid is completed through in person training and testing by the Sheriff’s Office Training Division annually.  Additional training is done through training briefs, shift training, and various other web-based training events upon availability. 

When a person within the Charlotte County Jail needs emergency medical treatment, a Corrections Deputy is trained to assist with this event until a medical professional can assist. This assistance may include wound care, clearing of an airway, CPR, or usage of an AED.

There are nurses working within the facility 24 hours a day.  The nurses and other medical staff are trained to handle various emergency incidents.  Additionally, the medical staff meets all incoming inmates and conducts an interview to assure that their medical and behavioral health needs are met.  This includes questions and discussion regarding self-harm.  Any person that is determined to be in danger of self-harm is placed on a “Direct Observation” status.  This status restricts the number of items allowed to the person and requires a staff member to view this person directly. 

There are other psychological checks or safety precautions for inmates that are not in danger of self-harm but may require more vigilance.  Each inmate is classified based on arrest history and crime, sex, as well as medical and mental health needs.  Per Florida Model Jail Standards, depending upon their classification, they are then housed in a specific area and given direct observation, 15, 30, or 60-minute checks.

The nurses make rounds through each housing area and conducts triage of sick calls or informal conversations during medication passes.  During these interactions or general conversation with Corrections Deputies, an inmate’s status may change to meet their immediate physical or psychological needs as identified.

A Licensed Mental Health Professional is available during normal working hours to see inmates that require crisis intervention as well as routine services as needed.  The Mental Health Professional works with a Psychiatrist to ensure that there is a holistic approach to the patient to include, crisis intervention, counseling and medication management as directed by the treatment plan.  In addition, Mental Health staff is on call 24/7.

Whenever we have a death at the jail, our Major Crimes Unit responds to investigate for any violations of law.  Upon conclusion, the Internal Affairs Unit then takes the case and investigates to assure all policies and procedures were followed, identify any training deficiencies and/or needs, or potential failures in policy.  If anything is identified, the appropriate actions are taken.

I take my responsibility for the care, custody, and control of our inmate population very seriously.  It was recently reported in 2020 that the CCSO Jail had 3,158 medical grievances made.  This inaccurate number is our fault as I had an employee pull the wrong report.  The fact is in Fiscal Year 2018 we had 32 with 20 founded/12 unfounded, FY19 – 11 with 7 founded/4 unfounded, and FY20 – 4 with 2 founded/2 unfounded and all were addressed accordingly.  So, our partnership and services with Corizon continues to improve and therefore I renewed our contract with them.

Any death is a tragedy, and we do what we can to identify and address those in distress to get them the help they need.  It is unfortunate the loss of these lives, but at this time we have found none had a history nor showed signs of self-harm.  Mental health has been on the forefront of this administration for many years.  We will continue to train our members and push for more funding for mental health throughout the State of Florida.  Did you know our State has been ranking between 48th and 49th in the country for funding?  For the 3rd largest State of the Union, this is unacceptable.

Be Strong, Be Safe, and Never Quit!

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