CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Division of Corrections announced Wednesday it is helping fund crisis intervention teams focused on de-escalating incidents involving inmates with mental illness.
The division will use money from a National Institute of Corrections grant, which it applied for last year.
An initial class of correctional officers will receive 40 hours of intensive training on the signs of mental illness and de-escalation procedures. It is based on the “Memphis Model,” which emphasizes partnerships with mental health community and law enforcement to create training programs for officers.
The Memphis Police Department, mental health professionals and University of Memphis personnel created the model as a follow-up to a 1988 fatal shooting of a man with mental illness by a city police officer.
Less than 3,000 local and regional programs nationwide.
“The safe resolution of incidents involving inmates with some type of mental crisis or emotional disturbance is an area of emphasis for the team that is leading this initiative,” said Deputy Corrections Commissioner Mike Coleman in a news release. “Our goal is to provide a safer way to resolve these incidents for everyone involved.”
The prison system will also provide correctional officers and staff with mental health first aid training developed by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. The training began in March.
The training class will also include correctional officers with the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority.