What should a family member do first when their loved one with a mental illness has been arrested?
If we are talking about a situation where the person has already been booked into jail, the family member can call the jail and ask to speak with the jail’s medical staff. They will be able to take notes regarding their loved one’s mental illness and make sure both the medical staff and mental health professionals at the jail are aware. It’s always a good idea to provide them with the family member’s name and phone number in the event they have further questions.
What happens in jail when a loved one has medication and needs to take?
If the inmate has their medication with them at the time of booking, medical will review the medication and then dispense them accordingly. If the inmate takes medication but did not have them at the time of booking, the prescription will be verified by the jail’s medical staff and then the medication will have to be ordered in before being dispensed. This can cause a lag time, so it’s always ideal that the person have their medication with them at booking, or have someone bring their prescriptions in for them. It is important to note that not all medications are eligible to be given in correctional facilities; however, most psychiatric medications are given.
Can a family member bring the medication to the jail for the jail to administer?
So long as the medication is a current prescription and written to the inmate, they can drop off the medications for them at the front lobby. They will secure them for the medical department to review, and dispense. It’s important to keep in mind these prescriptions need to be current and in original bottles.
Compass Health has a contract to provide behavioral care at the jail - can a loved one contact them to give information about the loved ones mental health condition?
It is always best to call the jail medical department because the medical and mental health contracts are negotiated on a scheduled basis, so it is not guaranteed to always be Compass. However, if you know the person’s mental health case manager you can contact them to let them know the person is incarcerated.
When does the sheriff's office or police take someone to the Whatcom County Triage Mental Health side, opposed to jail?
That is not a simple question and would be answered on a case-by-case situation.
Whatcom County Sheriff Office
Bellingham Police Department
Ferndale Police Department
Lynden Police Department
Everson Police Department
Blaine Police Department
Handling The Arrest Of A Family Member
The arrest of a family member or friend can be very upsetting. Trying to figure out what to do and where to start can feel overwhelming. Here are some steps to take to help your loved one through the situation.
If you don't know which jail your loved one is being held in you can use the online inmate locator for Washington State - https://www.doc.wa.gov/information/inmate-search/
If your family member requires medication, they should inform the jail staff. If they have not informed the jail staff, you should ask his psychiatrist to contact them. Although there's no privacy law restricting a medical professional from sharing information with jail staff, some will refuse. If that happens, your should make contact with your family member's doctor. It is best to do this in writing and then follow up with a phone call. This will ensure a written record of your request. Your request should be to the point and include:
~ Your loved one's diagnosis
~The type of medication
~ Contact information for their doctor
~Your contact information
~ Your Con
Going To Court
The arrest of a family member may mean he or she needs to appear in court. Knowing what to expect can help you provide the most support for your loved one and hopefully lead to the best outcome.