Program for Mentally Ill Inmates in BSO Jail a Success

February 14, 2008

Timothy Ludwig

An article exploring the benefits of a unique therapeutic program for some mentally ill Broward County jail inmates will be published in the Journal of Correctional Health Care. Mental Health Services manager Dr. Timothy Ludwig and former BSO mental health specialist Dr. Gina Hagar wrote the article after a 1 ½-year-long study of the Transitional Program Unit. The unit is designed to reduce the difficulties associated with housing mentally ill inmates alone in cells rather than allowing them to socialize with other inmates or receive mental health treatment.

The study showed that the program, which began in 2004, was a success for many inmates. By allowing the mentally ill men to interact with each other in a community area and work in group therapy settings with BSO mental health staff, their symptoms diminished enough to transition many of them into less-restrictive, dormitory-style mental health units. There are typically seven men in the Transitional Program Unit at a time. The length of stay varies with each inmate based on their sentences.

The article is expected to appear in the journal in October 2008.

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