The Monroe County Jail will have a psychiatric nurse practitioner in the jail providing mental health services to inmates.

The Monroe County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday approved an annual contract with Advanced Correctional Healthcare for $801,087.94. That is an increase of $5,729 per month from last year’s contract — around $732,000. The increase includes funding for a nurse practitioner to visit the jail four hours per week and when called to treat inmates with mental health issues. The Monroe County Council still has to approve spending the funds.

Monroe County Jail Commander Sam Crowe said jail staff is encountering more inmates that have serious mental health needs. Crowe said every week jail staff gets a list from a nurse of the most serious medical needs in the jail. He said of the 16 people listed recently, nine of them have mental health issues.

“We’re doing a very good job with medical issues,” Crowe said. “But, I think we’re lagging currently with mental health and that’s something that we really need to improve on.”

Crowe said with the addition of a nurse they expect an increase in the number of medications prescribed at the jail. That anticipated increase is reflected in the renewed contract. It includes an annual $40,500 pharmaceuticals budget. He added that jail officials would evaluate the services provided to determine if the amount of hours initially suggested is sufficient. He said increasing hours would mean requesting additional money.
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