top of page
  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Lawrence County Council approves Opiate Settlement money distribution to county non - profits including for mental health services at Lawrence County Jail

LAWRENCE COUNTY - APRIL 23, 2024 - The Lawrence County Council approved the first distribution of Opiate Fund distribution in 2024.


The county was awarded approximately $ 547,667.58 in funds with more expected to be given to the county at a later date.



The Lawrence County's non-profits along with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department for mental health services will utilize the funds.


Where are the Opiate Settlement Funds going:


  • Men's Warming Shelter - $30,000 - Unrestricted

  • Lawrence County Sheriff's Department - Lawrence County Jail - $65,000 divided in 2 years - Restricted

  • Probation Department - Becky's Place - Domestic Violence - $30,000 - Restricted

  • Hope Resource Center- $30,000 - Restricted

  • Families Forever - $88,290 - Restricted


There is $47,000 remaining in the Unrestricted Category and $121,087 remaining in the Restricted Category. The restricted category must be used for specific uses.



Photo: The Men's Warming Shelter 1414 H Street Bedford, Indiana


Back in 2023 the Lawrence County Commissioners voted to approve the request to the Men's Warming Shelter.


The Men's Warming Shelter operation costs are $273,000 a year.


Lawrence County Commissioner Dustin Gabhart voted against the request stating the Men's Warming Shelter is not addressing homelessness in Lawrence County. The Men's Warming Shelter is open to those who do not reside in Lawrence County.


Many residents in Lawrence County are having trouble getting assistance because of many restrictions, rules and barriers that many churches, organizations and non- profits have placed on local residents in getting assistance.


Many residents are living on the streets, vehicles, and campers throughout Lawrence County. Homelessness has grown over the years in the county for a variety of reasons.


In December 2023 Sheriff Greg Day made a request for Opiate Settlement funds.


Previous news story: More than $800,000 could land in Lawrence County organizations by the time the funds are given to county officials over a period of time.


Photo: Lawrence County Sheriff Greg Day


Lawrence County Commissioner Rodney Fish cautioned that the amount could be a lot less than expected.


On Tuesday, Lawrence County Sheriff Greg Day asked the county commissioners for $32,000 to add Mental Health Services at the jail.


According to Day studies show that 2/3 of the incarcerated population suffer from substance abuse disorder or opiate substance abuse disorder.


Sheriff Day has changed the medical service provider to Quality Correctional Care, back in November which is based in Indiana.


 Quality Correctional Care will provide one mental health professional one day a week at the jail.


  Sheriff Day states that by adding an additional $32,000 QCC will add two additional professional mental health days at the jail.


This will help treat those inmates dealing with those disorders.


" By doing this it will help our jail staff, who with certain inmates are on watches, and at least one jail officer assigned to do those jail watches. And this will also help the inmates and with their recovery and get the inmates off the watches, added Sheriff Day.


The Lawrence County Commissioners taking Day's recommendation under advisement.


Previous story: In Lawrence County Sheriff Greg Day's first year of evaluating the departments operations, systems, contracts and many other components Sheriff Day has recommended a new medical provider for the jail.


Photo: Lawrence County Correctional facility


The county has used Advanced Medical for many years; however the sheriff thought the time for a change in medical coverage is now.


 The Lawrence County Commissioners approved a new contract with Quality Correctional Care with a yearly cost of $354,660.


This price is less than the $357,544 offered by Advanced Medical. " This contract with the Quality Correctional provider has more medical coverage and more services for the $2,397.55 less than Advance Medical is offering," stated Sheriff Day.


Photo: Sheriff Greg Day


Quality Correctional Care is based out of Carmel, Indiana and serves more than 80 correctional facilities in Indiana.


" When I was taken to the jail earlier this year, I have diabetes and other medical conditions. I was not given any medicines for my medical problems. The jailers stated we are not allowed to give out medications, " one inmate told the Lawrence County Zephyr.


" For me it was very scary not knowing if I was going to have a medical episode at the jail, and no one there to evaluate me, never seeing a nurse or doctor,"


A Lawrence County Jail Inmate stated that he was not able to talk to a nurse while incarcerated at the Lawrence County jail. " I was there for three days, and there was no medical intake by any medical professional, " the inmate alleges in a interview with the Lawrence County Zephyr.


 has since been released but due to a pending court case he did not want to be identified.


Highlights of the new contract:


  • There will be 84 hours of nurse coverage per week (12 hours coverage 7 days a week)

  • This will be an increase of 56 hours a week from Advanced Medical

  • At the present time there was no medical providers on the weekends

  • Both morning and evening prescriptions will be handled by medical staff

  • A doctor will professional be on site one day a week

  • A mental health professional will see inmates one day a week

  • Telecommunications available with doctors and mental health professionals will be available

  • Prescriptions will be covered except for some specialty treatments

  • There is $56,000 off-site services provided in the contract

  • Medical training provided to jail staff for initial intake for medical and mental health

  • Administrative support to inmates for Medicaid and Healthy Indiana

  • Planning and coordinating health care needs with their release or transfer to another facility

  • Psychological testing at Sheriffs request for new hires and jail officers

  • Critical Incident response services and counseling


Deaths in Indiana jails continue to rise with one inmate death in 2022 and another in 2023 at the Lawrence County Jail.


There is an average of one inmate death in Indiana jails every two weeks. The lack of intial medical intake and failure to monitor inmate's medical conditions are leading factors at Indiana county jails.


In 2022 there were more than 168 inmate deaths in Indiana correctional facilities across the state.


Sheriff Day has proposed more than $ 5 million in projects at the current Lawrence County Correctional facility including $600,000 in camera upgrades.


Those proposals have yet to be made public.


The justice study conducted by the Lawrence County Commissioners proposed a $46 million new facility that would cost taxpayers $60 million by the time the bond would be paid off.


The current correctional facility was built in 1990 with the average life span of a jail at 20 years.


These were just a few requests for the funds.


For breaking news and information go to lczephyr.org or like/follow the Lawrence County Zephyr Facebook page.


ADVERTISEMENTS





















437 views1 comment

1 Comment


Melissa Evans
Melissa Evans
Apr 24

Is Jerry ford tied to this money

Like
bottom of page