Middlesex Sheriff Peter J Koutoujian recently traveled to San Antonio, Texas where he met with officials at the nationally recognized Bexar County Restoration Center.
“Bexar County has become a national model for law enforcement Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), efforts to increase diversion opportunities for those in mental health and substance use crisis, as well as expanding community capacity to treat individuals in need,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “I want to thank CEO Leon Evans and his tremendous team for the briefing and tour of their facilities. Their roadmap for success contains many valuable lessons we can learn from here in Massachusetts.”
The Restoration Center was founded in 2008 to help keep people in crisis out of jails and emergency rooms. Today, the center offers a variety of services from crisis intervention to residential detoxification and programs for those suffering from co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, among others.
“Last year, 42 percent of all new admittances to the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction required medical detox and 46 percent reported a history of mental illness,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “Jails have become our de facto mental health and detox facilities, but Bexar County is proving it does not have to be that way, and I hope to share the information I gathered with colleagues, legislators and partners here in the Commonwealth.”
Sheriff Koutoujian met with officials at the restoration center while in San Antonio for the American Correction Association (ACA) Conference in late January.