On any given day, Virginia’s jails house more people with mental illnesses than are housed in the state's psychiatric hospitals. In the City of Alexandria, the problem has been recognized for several years and steps have been taken toward improvement.
At least a quarter of those inside the City’s Adult Detention Center have a mental illness, and upwards of 70 percent have a substance use problem. In response, Alexandria has created a special unit at the Adult Detention Center dedicated to those with serious mental illness and a unit for those with substance use disorders. Nine full-time employees of the Department of Community and Human Services’ (DCHS) Alexandria Community Services Board work with these clients, and the cost is shared by DCHS and the Sheriff's office. More than 200 City first responders have received Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training to learn how to respond to people with a mental health or substance use problem. DCHS, Court Services, Probation and Parole, the Public Defender’s Office and the Commonwealth Attorney's Office have all worked together to insure fair and rehabilitative treatment inside the jail and safe re-entry into the world outside.
Learn how the collaboration between the criminal justice and behavioral health systems are working and what still needs to be done at the February 24 meeting of Agenda Alexandria at the Holiday Inn at the Eisenhower Metro. Doors open at 6:15, buffet dinner is served at 6:45 and the meeting begins at 7:15. The cost to attend the program only is $5. Dinner and program is $28 for members, $35 for non-members. Speakers include Liz Wixson, Director of Clinical and Emergency Services, DCHS; Bill Rooney, Comprehensive Recovery Team Supervisor, DCHS; Sergeant Courtney Ballantine of the Alexandria Police Department who led the Police in the implementation of the Crisis Intervention Team; and Lisa Stapleton, Chief Probation Officer, Virginia Department of Corrections.
For information or reservations visit agendaalexandria.org/reentry or contact Agenda Alexandria Executive Director Sherry Brown at 703.548.7089. Walk-ins are not guaranteed seating.