NCCHC Names Harris County Downtown Jail as Program of the Year for 2013

Posted Nov 18, 2013

CHICAGO (Nov. 18, 2013) ­­—The Harris County Downtown Central Jail Mental Health and Medical Security Unit has been honored as the Program of the Year for 2013 by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. The award recognizes programs of excellence among the thousands provided by accredited prisons, jails and juvenile facilities.

 In the program, deputies receive special training and assignments for working with inmates with mental illness. Six sergeants and 124 deputies are assigned to the medical and mental health units, which are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To be eligible to join this elite team, the officers must undergo rigorous training in skills such as crisis intervention, use of force, de-escalation techniques and suicide detection, and must obtain certification as a mental health peace officer. This approach has decreased use-of-force incidents and has eliminated any need in the past two years for clinical or custody-ordered restraints. The deputies work with medical personnel employed by the Sheriff’s office and the Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County.

“The Harris County jail functions as the largest mental health institution in Texas. We are delighted to honor them for their innovation, compassion and understanding of the unique challenges of mental illness in the justice system,” said Edward Harrison, CCHP, NCCHC president and CEO.



EDITOR NOTE: Photos are available from the presentation ceremony.

About the National Commission on Correctional Health Care

NCCHC is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization working to improve the quality of care in our nation’s jails, prisons, and juvenile detention and confinement facilities. NCCHC establishes standards for health services in correctional facilities; operates a voluntary accreditation program for institutions that meet these standards; produces and disseminates resource publications; provides technical assistance; offers a quality review program; conducts educational trainings and conferences; and offers a certification program for correctional health professionals. NCCHC is supported by the major national organizations representing the fields of health, law and corrections. Each of these organizations has named a representative to the NCCHC Board of Directors.

NCCHC Supporting Organizations: Academy of Correctional Health Professionals, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Physician Assistants, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, American Association of Public Health Physicians, American Bar Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Healthcare Executives, American College of Neuropsychiatrists, American College of Physicians, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Correctional Health Services Association, American Counseling Association, American Dental Association, American Health Information Management Association, American Jail Association, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Osteopathic Association, American Pharmacists Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Public Health Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology, National Association of Counties, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Association of Social Workers, National Medical Association, National Partnership for Juvenile Services, National Sheriffs' Association, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and Society of Correctional Physicians.


For more information:

Kimberly Sterling, Director of Marketing, NCCHC, 1145 Diversey Ave., Chicago, IL 60614