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New Jail Hopes to Expand Mental Health Resources

February 5, 2017

Skagit Valley Herald

By Marilyn Napier

Skagit County (WA) Chief of Corrections Charlie Wend wants his new jail to be about more than just punishment.

As Wend walked through the new jail’s construction site Thursday, he pointed out where classrooms will be built for inmate programs.

“When you think jail, you think punishment,” Wend said. “We are going to hopefully be a program-centric jail and built on doing things to help people be more than who they are and who they’ve been.”

In 2015, Skagit County commissioners joined the Stepping Up Initiative, a nationwide effort to reduce the number of those with mental illnesses who are in jail by getting them the treatment they need to keep from coming back.

Wend is taking part in the initiative by focusing on mental health resources for inmates at the new jail, which is set to be completed April 24.

Unlike the current jail, the new jail will have more space to provide programs.

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