California jail set to debut $61M mental health unit

A mental health unit to treat and house inmates with serious mental illnesses is set to open at Ventura County's Todd Road Jail in Santa Paula, Calif., the Ventura County Star reported April 9.

The $61 million, 64-bed Health & Programming Unit has been in the works for more than a decade. Funding and political issues, the pandemic and permit delays slowed construction, according to the Star. The unit will house a medical department, programs to rehabilitate people found incompetent to stand trial and a therapy program for inmates with serious mental disorders.

Tim Ragan, a Ventura County sheriff's captain who will run the unit, told the Star that the mental health unit will offer care for the inmates "from A to Z," with the exception of those needing hospital care.

Three mental health programs at the main jail in Ventura are scheduled to move to the new unit once it opens in May, according to the publication. 

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