We spend millions jailing people with mental illness. How that's changing in Miami-Dade

Michelle Marchante, Miami Herald on

Published in Lifestyles

MIAMI -- A new treatment center could be key to solving the mental health crisis plaguing Miami-Dade’s jail, which serves as the largest psychiatric institution in Florida.

About 3,100 people in Miami-Dade County jail, or 70%, are classified as undergoing treatment for a mental health condition — this is as many as all state, civil and forensic mental health treatment facilities combined. The county spends $848,000 a day, or more than $310 million a year, to “warehouse” them, according to Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Steve Leifman, a champion for mental health reform in Miami-Dade’s criminal justice system.

Now, after more than a decade of work, the Miami Center for Mental Health and Recovery, 2200 NW Seventh Ave., will open in about six months to treat and help rehabilitate people living with mental illnesses — such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression — and substance abuse who often find themselves in jail again and again, largely because of their mental illness.

And it’s expected to save the county millions.

Here’s what to know about the newly renovated and gated complex:

Who can get care at the new center?


-- Patients: People who are arrested, or are inmates in county jail and are considered to be “high users of acute services,” the judge said. The center is expected to care for about 9,000 patients a year. It does not accept walk-ins.

What type of services, treatment will the center offer?

-- Services offered: The 208-bed center will offer outpatient behavioral health and primary care, tattoo removal, transitional housing, legal and social services, and training for culinary and other vocational work programs. It will also offer peer support programs to help patients learn how to manage their illnesses, just like how people are taught to manage their diabetes, the judge said.

-- Amenities: Patients will also have access to a basketball court, barber shop, a gym, a salon and yoga classes.


swipe to next page

©2023 Miami Herald. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus