The second phase of the Floyd County Jail medical unit has a very specific focus in mind: targeting the mental health of inmates and connecting them to treatment.
Jail Administrator Maj. Allen Pledger said they are working with National Alliance on Mental Illness President Bonnie Moore on getting counselors to come in and work with people in need of those services while they’re being held at the jail.
Carroll Daniel Construction crews have completely gutted block W10 in Side Five and are working on creating beds for the severely mentally ill. In that block, there will be six male beds and six female beds, all suicide resistant.
There will be another block for less severe mental health cases, which will be a total of 16 beds in block W9.
Pledger said there will be another set of beds dedicated to those who are arrested under the influence of alcohol or another drug. They would first be put in these beds and then eventually moved to general population after they sober up.
They are still planning out the layout of the new unit as they wait for permission to move ahead with block W9. Eventually, it will connect back to the 17 bed medical unit from Phase I.
The first phase, which was completed at the end of 2020, cost about $3.9 million of the over $7 million special purpose local option sales tax funded projects.
The renovations and expansion has all been a part of the county’s efforts to reduce the number of mentally ill inmates at the jail, which has increased exponentially over the years after Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital closed in 2011. County residents voted for the two projects in the 2017 SPLOST.
Right now, Pledger estimated the project should be complete by June.