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Transparency and harm reduction reforms at Louisville Metro Corrections

Updated: Apr 21, 2023


Louisville Metro Department of Corrections
Louisville Metro Department of Corrections

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 20, 2023) – Aiming to increase resident and staff safety, promote effective mental health treatment, and offer a higher level of transparency to the community, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg today announced significant reforms and improvements to Louisville Metro Corrections. Mayor Greenberg says these reforms are just the beginning of a sustained effort to improve conditions and outcomes at Metro Corrections.


“From those residing at Louisville Metro Corrections to the hard-working men and women providing staffing and medical care, we need to be doing all we can to ensure they are in a safe and healthy environment,” Mayor Greenberg said. “Through these changes we’re going to make a dramatic impact in the level of safety and health of those residing at Metro Corrections. We’re moving as fast as we can to bring these and other changes, and we will work with the community to be as transparent and responsive as possible to make sure we deliver this much needed change.”

New dashboard to show Louisville Metro Corrections population data

Mayor Greenberg announced the city is releasing a powerful new transparency tool to allow citizens access to real-time information on who is in the care of Louisville Metro Corrections.


The Louisville Metro Corrections Dashboard, which can be found here, will display daily infographics on the Corrections population including gender, race, length of stay, category of charge, amount of set bond, and other information.


“In order to best serve the public, including those in the care of Louisville Metro Corrections, we will always be deferential to transparency,” Mayor Greenberg said. “And rebuilding trust with the community is going to begin by allowing the public unfettered information about Metro Corrections. We can’t deliver on improvement if we don’t make sure the public can track our progress.”

Mayor Greenberg thanked the Jefferson County Criminal Justice Commission for their hard work in making the dashboard available.


New intake evaluation to triage mental and behavioral health care

To ensure those arriving at Louisville Metro Corrections have better access to mental health and harm reduction services, Mayor Greenberg announced initial entry screenings now include dramatically bolstered psychological evaluations.


Metro Corrections has always included mental health in initial screenings, which are conducted by a registered nurse and rely on new residents self-disclosing mental health conditions. If the resident disclosed a mental health condition, or the nurse had reason to believe a mental or behavioral health condition was present, the new resident was referred to a mental health professional for a follow-up.


Under the newly announced intake procedures, a Master’s-level mental health professional is present 24 hours a day, and each new resident receives a screening by a mental health professional.


This initiative will allow Metro Corrections to quickly connect residents with the appropriate treatment and resources to provide better outcomes for those with mental health needs.


“We know that the delivery of effective mental health services is absolutely critical to maintaining a safe environment for residents and staff,” Mayor Greenberg said. “We can’t help people if we don’t know they need help. By ensuring a mental health professional is screening for mental wellness, not just physical health, we are working to better understand which residents need assistance. We are hopeful that this simple, but crucial, change will create better health and safety outcomes for our entire population and staff.”


RFP for health care services announced

Mayor Greenberg also announced Louisville Metro will work to safeguard the physical health of residents of Louisville Metro Corrections by submitting a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for health care services. The RFP, which is being developed, will cover health care services after the current contract with Wellpath expires on July 31, 2023.


The RFP is being developed with significant community input and crafted in a way to address the changing needs of the population Louisville Metro Corrections serves, as well as new developments in care delivery. For instance, the RFP seeks a health care partner who can provide care with additional emphasis on mental and behavioral health, treatments of substance use disorders, and medical detoxification.


“The city is not only seeking a medical care provider, but a true partner in reforming how Louisville Metro Corrections operates,” said Jerry Collins, director of Louisville Metro Corrections. “I’ve met with reform advocates, members of impacted communities, and nonprofit organizations from across Louisville. I have taken their requests and input into consideration in developing this RFP, and I want the community to know we are committed to delivering quality health care to those in our care. We will work to find a partner to do just that.”

DIRECT RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR


 

These reforms have come after many years of demands for change from various organizations throughout the Louisville Metro. Just the day before these announcements were announced by the Office of Mayor Greenberg, a number of groups came together to make that same demand. Many feel that it has taken far too long for these reforms and the information dashboard to be put together and offered to the public.


"I'm a person with lived experience with incarceration. I'm one of the first ones in this group to lift up that I believe that it was an inside job. I just did not believe that people individuals that use drugs were the sole majority of the blind to bring drugs inside. I know how the system works.... So in this example, to prove the work that we've been doing, we've been saying this somebody else you have to be more transparent and you have to let us know and let the community know that this is what's happening on the inside of this jail." - Savvy Shabazz Community Justice Action Fund

"Many of the people that are in this building, don't even have a violent charge. So we're talking about like, what is absolutely happening in here. 13 people have died in this facility who didn't have to be arrested in the first place. And we still are not talking about that. We keep talking about new jails and what community programming looks like and what it looks like when they go to different cities and go mimic what somebody else is doing." - Chanelle Helm Louisville BLM

"We weren't given the information. The information isn't public about the health care in the jail, you have to get open records. And they take too long and we know they're behind. So we spend a lot of time just trying to figure out what's going on... I think the dashboard will help. Because I think as many as 80% of the people in jail are awaiting trial, but we will know that when we have the information that they give us, but it's taken 10 years to get that dashboard asked for a dashboard in 2009." - Judi Jennings Louisville Family Justice Advocates


 

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