Press-Republican

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July 7, 2014

Program bolsters Clinton County jail prisoners after release

PLATTSBURGH — Over the past year and half, Clinton County Sheriff David Favro has worked to create a program that tracks and works with inmates who have been released. 

“What’s a better inmate benefit than a post-release program?” the sheriff said, speaking the annual meeting of the National Alliance on Mental Illness: Champlain Valley. 

“It’s exciting to get it going and frustrating that it took so long.”

Favro was the keynote speaker for the event hosted by NAMI, an organization that provides support, advocacy and self-help groups for people with mental illnesses and their families.

He had been invited to talk about how to ensure an incarcerated friend or family member with mental illness will receive treatment and how Clinton County Jail personnel are trained to handle the kinds of issues that can arise. 

STAYING IN CONTACT

The new program, still in the works, will help deter the released inmate from getting stuck in a rut, Favro feels, while also helping to reduce the crime rate and recidivism, creating a better quality of life for the community. 

It will involve making followup phone calls and collaborating with community groups. 

“I believe good communications can solve the world’s problems,” Favro said. 

MEDS FOR INMATES

Meanwhile, the sheriff said, the jail gets phone calls every day from concerned families, hoping their loved ones are getting the help or medication that they need. 

“Every single person who goes to jail suffers from anxiety; they don’t sleep well,” Favro said.

“Seventy-eight percent of our population are requesting psychotropic meds.”

Favro said that, by law, medications that come in with an inmate are locked up. 

“We’re not pharmacists,” he said. “Since we can’t determine the type of medication they need ... we have to contact their physician.” 

This becomes problematic on the weekends, when doctor’s offices may be closed. 

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