Macomb County proposes mental health jail intake facility for those who need help

Officials in Macomb County are working to help arrestees who may be struggling with mental health, substance abuse, and other issues.

"People remanded to the county jail have many issues, mental health, substance abuse problems," Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said.

When people who need help with these problems end up in jail, they tend to not get the help they need.

"The unfortunate reality is jails have become somewhat the new location for people with severe mental health issues and concerns if they commit some type of crime," County Executive Mark Hackel said.

The county proposed adding an intake facility at the jail where people would be evaluated after arrest.

"Inside this facility what we were looking at is for probably the first time ever, an opportunity to have somebody there with the expertise inside the facility that goes beyond just the basics," Hackel said. "So, when they come into this facility, it doesn't matter when they come in, they’re going to be looked at, they're going to be talked to, there’s going to be questions, there’s going to be people who have that expertise that will determine what will happen."

The project is expected to cost about $228 million, and officials are still working out the details, such as how care will be managed.

Next week, they are set to present the project to the Board of Commissioners for part of the funding.

"We’re looking to the state to partner with the state to come up with another $50 million dollars," Hackel said.

They hope all are on board with the project that they believe could lead to change beyond Macomb County.

"I think this is going to be one that is going to set the tone for other county jails throughout the state and possibly throughout the country," Hackel said.