(upbeat music) – Hello and welcome
to Prairie Pulse. Coming up a little
bit later in the show we’ll hear a performance
from the Pat Lenertz band. But first, joining me
now, is Clay County Jail Administrator from
Moorhead, Julie Savat. Julie, thanks for
joining us today. – You’re welcome. – As we get started, we
always ask, tell the folks a little bit about yourself
and your background, maybe where you’re
originally from. – Sure, I’m originally
from Moorhead. I attended the
high school there, and graduated from MSU. I started with the
Sheriff’s Department in 1991 as a Correction’s Officer, and about four years
later I was promoted to Jail Administrator and
I’ve been the Administrator for the last 24 years. – Now, what does a
Jail Administrator do? – Lots. Fortunately I have a lot of
great staff working for me, so my job is a lot easier
because I have great staff. But really, I’m responsible
for the policies, procedures, budgeting and
hiring at the facility. – Okay. Now, I understand
there’s a new facility. Can you tell us how new is
it and when was it built? – Sure, we’ve been working
on getting the new facility for quite a long time. I remember the first project
I started on was in 1995, talking about the need for
a new facility at that time. We’ve gone through a
couple different projects to try to maintain
our old facility, but eventually it came to the
point where we just couldn’t maintain that building anymore. We were over crowded, it was
the oldest operating jail in the state of Minnesota. And so we started a process
of building a new facility and that opened in
October of 2018. – So, 2018. How many inmates does it hold? – We have 204 beds
in our new facility. – 204. So, was it overcrowding
and just the age, that’s what you’re saying? – You know, our old
facility, we were overcrowded and we had been overcrowded
since about 2006, but in the last 5 years our
population really exploded and we had more inmates
shipped out of county than we actually could house
in our old facility, so, overcrowding and the fact that it was just an old design. It was very staff intensive
and it was old school, old locks, old, old everything. And there wasn’t proper
programming space and things that we
needed to do to really benefit our inmates
and our staff, so. – Sure. Well, you’re here today
to talk about, I think, what is relatively a new
program in Moorhead called the River Project. What is that? – The River Project is a
project that we have going on our facility that we actually
started this process a couple of years ago when we were
building our new facility. We had a jail planning committee and one of the things that
we were concerned about is helping our individuals in
our jail with mental health illnesses or issues. We see a lot of people coming
through our jail everyday with issues that we really
needed to do something to help them so that when they left
our facility they were in a better place and they
were better citizens
for our community and maybe they wouldn’t come
back again in the future. So, if we could offer
them some tools, we thought we could
better everybody. So, for the new
facility we thought, let’s build a behavioral
health unit within the jail. And everybody agreed to that. But along with that,
we needed to figure out how are we going to program
something like this. So, the jail planning
committee decided that we should have a behavioral
health sub committee. And that sub committee
really came up with some great ideas for
our new facility. And that sub committee
included various people from the community. We had county commissioners,
we had social services, we had Lakeland Mental Health, we had people from the
community who were actually utilizing current services. And we really had a great
feedback input from everybody. And we came up with a
couple things that we needed to do for this new facility. One of them was, creating
behavioral health in the jail that would have maybe
Lakeland Mental Health come in and provide services
for all of our inmates, train all of our staff
in crisis intervention, and then actually building
a unit within the facility that was targeted in a
better location for people with mental health who
have criminal charges. And with the great support
of the county commissioners, they supported it fully,
and we were able to provide all those services when we
opened up in October 2018. – Now, you’ve
mentioned partners. It sounds like you
needed these partners. Can you talk a little bit
more maybe about the help Lakeland Mental Health
is providing and well, let’s start with them
first, you mentioned them. – Lakeland Mental Health
was a big component of this. They provided us some grant
money to start our program and we are currently using
that money still in 2019. But, they’re the ones who
provided the professionals to come into our facility. And we have two full time
professionals coming in. It’s actually four individuals,
they split the time, they come into our jail
Monday through Friday and that’s their job, is
they work with every inmate we have in there and providing
all kinds of services. So, Lakeland has been a
great partner for Clay County and we’re really thankful
to have them in here. – Okay, well great. And then of course, Clay
County Social Services, I think you mentioned them also. What’s been their role? – Well they helped get
everything going for us. They maintain the contracts,
they help us work out what kind of services we
want to provide in that jail, and they’re overall,
Rhonda Porter was essential for helping us get this
program up and running. – Well you mentioned
services, and programs. Are there specific services,
what are they for the inmates? – We do quite a few
different programs from, we call it the River Project. Maybe I should explain why
we call it the River Project. In our new facility, all of
our housing units are named after the local rivers. We really wanted to have
a more community feel in our facility. So, it’s Red River Block,
there’s Maple Block, there’s Wild Rice,
there’s Cheyenne. And so since we’re providing
services for all of our inmates and they’re not just a targeted
behavioral health unit, we decided to call
it the River Project. So, it helps everybody
in the facility. So, that’s where the name
came from first of all. – Okay. Let’s move on to a
couple other things here. What is MEnD,
M-E-N-D, I believe? MEnD. – Yeah, MEnD is our medical
provider for the jail. That provides us our
Doctors and our nursing and our health techs that are
there Monday through Friday, and then on the weekends we
also have medical services. They also provide mental
health services for us. They do ITV stuff. And they target more,
a different area than our River Project does. They do more of
our suicide screens and medication maintenance. – Okay. Did you say ITV stuff? – Correct. – What does that stand–
– ITV. – That means they talk through
the TV through a doctor. They’re not onsite, they’re
through the television. – Well when you say
that, Interactive TV, I just wanted to make sure. A lot of acronyms that
are thrown around. Why is mental health
such a huge issue and is it starting to
become more accepted in terms of need to deal with? – I think it is. We see it every day
and we have seen it, we’ve always seen it, but I think everybody’s
realizing that it’s not somebody else’s problem,
it’s everybody’s problem. And so we need to come up with
an approach that we can help people when we have them, even if it’s a short
period of time, if we can do something
to help them, then they’re going to be
a better neighbor to you, they’re going to be a
better employee to you, I mean, it’s important that
we help everybody we can. And I think we’re doing
that with this program. – Okay. When did it start again? – Well, we started developing
it a couple years ago when we were building the
jail, but it actually started when we moved into our facility
in October of last year. – Okay, so and then, how’s it
been going since about a year? – I think it’s been going great. It’s not only beneficial
for the inmates, but it’s beneficial for staff. Because when you have
somebody who comes in who is difficult, but
they’re (unclear speech), they can give you pointers
on how to handle them, or they’ll go and
talk with them, because a lot of times
they know these people. I mean, they’re the same
clients that they had, are what we have. So, you know, they may
have some history with them and they can maybe farther
than we can with them and you know, they just provide
that support that we need and it’s really, pretty much,
we’re very lucky to have them. – Okay. Well you mentioned some
funding a moment ago. But how is the program funded? I mean, is it all coming
from that one source, or? – Well, in 2020 we’re asking
asking the county to fund the program completely. – You’re asking the county but– – Yup, I put it in my budget. I have a budget request and so
far it’s still in the budget. – Okay. Can you tell us about
maybe some success stories you’ve had so far? – Well, yeah, we’ve had,
I can’t give you specific names obviously.
– I understand that. – But we’ve had many people who we have seen out in the
community, who are continuing with their therapy,
they have jobs, they have a place to live,
they’re maintaining sobriety. And that’s a wonderful example
of people being successful. – Well, I mean, so obviously, so the jail is not just
a place to send people, you also try to get
them ready to be a citizen in the workforce
when they get out. – Exactly. – That’s what
you’re trying to do. Let’s talk about
some specifics like diagnostics, assessments. How does that work? – So that’s basically a
detailed evaluation to determine if somebody has a
mental health disease and it provides an
opportunity to figure out what treatment should be for that. – Okay. So… Okay, I think I
understand some of that. But, how about Seeking Safety. What does that mean? – Seeking Safety is a
program we offer that allows individuals who have
been through maybe post traumatic stress or trauma, and they find them
some resources of, where do you go to that
is a safe place for them to talk to people, helps them with counseling
and those types of areas where they may have been
a part of a some type of abusive or trauma
type situation. – Now, you said how many
inmates did your facility hold? – Well, we have
204 beds right now. When I checked this morning, we had about 130
inmates in there. – 130, but do all inmates
participate in some form of these programs or do you
just have a certain number that are participating? – So, everything is voluntary. We don’t make
anybody do anything. And we do do separation by
classification and gender. So, the classes are typically
small, so I might have more than one Seeking
Safety in a week. I might have a couple depending
on who signs up for it. – I understand you also have
like an anger management group. – We do. It’s a program we offer that
helps people come up with strategies and ways to
control their emotions and identify triggers possibly
that get them in trouble. And just learning different
ways to handle situations so that maybe they’d
make a better decision. – Okay, yeah. You talked about it
could be small groups. I think you also have
individual therapy that you have offered. – Yeah, we do offer individual
therapy and that can be for anything you
need to talk about. And it’s a private conversation
with the individual counselor, it’s not
a group setting. And they can deal with
anything you want to in those situations. It’s very easy to sign up. We have kiosks in all
of our cell blocks and anytime you want
to talk to somebody from the River Project you
just put in an email request. – So, is it your staff that’s
trained or do you bring in outside staff for
these projects? – All these projects
are taken care of by Lakeland Mental Health. – We hear often the
term case management, what kind of case management
services do you provide? – Well, case management is
long term services for people and many times people that
come in are already under case management so, we try
to hook them up with their prior case manager and so they
can work with the Lakeland project while the
person’s in custody. And then it’s case management
when they leave there. So, they make sure they
continue their services. Consider seeing the counselor
they were seeing before, making sure they’re on track
with their medications, housing, all those things. – Yeah, when your inmates
come in, do you have an average length of time
that they’re usually there? I mean, I know that
they’re obviously get a length of
time they’re given for their crime or they do, but, how long are they usually
with your organization? – Well, that’s a kind
of a tricky thing because, we do do stats
on that and right now I think we’re looking at
about an eight day stay as an average stay. But that incorporates the person
that was there for an hour and person who has been
there for a year and a half, so the people looking at
these programs are going to be there for a couple days
before they get acclimated and get into a program. – Yeah. Well, let’s move on
a little bit more. What about Adult Rehabilitative
Mental Health Services? – That’s a program that offers
coping skills or life skills, anything they need help with. You see that in the
community quite a bit. Maybe they need help
balancing a cheque book or how to fill out a resume. Your basic life coping
skills that or social skills you know things like that,
that they need help with. – Yeah, is it hard to train your staff to get up to speed
on this project? – Not at all. Because they’ve seen the
benefits immediately. Immediately. The de-escalation tools
they’ve been given, training with the CIT, and the people from
the River Project have been so helpful
and good to our staff and they work with them, they’re a team, and they’re very happy
that we have them in there. – You know, you obviously
have been around this a number of years so, do people end up in jail
simply because they have mental health issues that leads
them to crime or drug use? – We see that quite a bit. People under the influence
can make bad decisions and those bad decisions
can end them up in jail, so, it’s pretty common. – And, these programs that
you have are having success it sounds like, So… yeah. Are jails and prisons
starting to adapt to treating more mental health. I mean it sounds like
yours is, but most of them doing this kind of thing? – Ah, they’re starting to. You’re seeing a lot more of
them in the state of Minnesota. Actually, Minnesota is
working on their 2911 rules which are the rules
for the jails. And they’re incorporating more
mental health requirements. – And yeah, okay. So, what kind of
goals do you have. Well, let’s start with
the River Project. What kind of goals do
you really have for it now that it’s been
going on for a year, you’ve seen successes, what do you hope it does? – Well, I hope we can continue
the funding for it because the benefits are pretty
amazing for the jail staff. I’d like to expand it. We could actually use more. I’d like to see us get into chemical dependency treatment
programs within the jail and maybe offering
a few more programs. More Seeking Safety, more
Anger Management classes, things like that. The ultimate goal,
I know at one point, was try to find a re-entry, no, I’m sorry, not a re-entry, but an ability to divert
people from the jail, that maybe have a minor
crime but they are there because of their mental health, so they don’t even
come into the jail. So maybe in a pre-book
before they actually are getting processed
in the jail, figure out if there a
better diversion program than for them to be in the jail. – Yeah. With that said, you’ve got
the new jail, new facilities, new locks, new programs, so
what are sort of your goals, or what are you looking at
for just the facility itself as it moves forward? – Well, we’re still
working on our second phase of our facility, so that’s
what we’re working on right now and really looking at finalizing
how that’s going to work out with everything. We have to figure out how
to operate those areas. We’ve never had some
of those areas before. For example, we’re
getting a kitchen. We’ve never had a kitchen
in our facility in the past. So, that’ll be a
learning curve for us, but, there’s quite a bit
of space that’s being built including program space, so some of the programs
that we’re offering we can actually
offer to more inmates because we’ll have more
space within the facility. – The people watching
who may not be aware, what’s a daily routine
for your facility? – Well–
– Or is there a daily routine? – Well, there is, nothing is
ever the same it seems like. Everyday there is
something new that happens. But you know you have
your basic things that you have to get done. But in regards to programming,
we offer programming everyday and how we do it is
basically through a kiosk. Inmates can request every
day to sign up for something and then we have specific
program staff who will take them to and from programs
and make sure everybody’s doing what they’re doing
and behaving and you know, if you don’t behave
in a program, there’s consequences
to that, so, everything in our jail
is behavioral based so we encourage good behavior. And the more programing
we can offer, I think the better
behavior inmates will have. – Well, you said they
can, it’s voluntary. But is it a right
or a privilege, or
how does that work? – It is a privilege. There’s some inmates
that won’t classify that, we won’t allow into
the programing, just due to the safety
and security of not only the River Project,
but other inmates. – Yeah. Okay, well again, we
wish you the best. It sounds like you’re
doing a lot of good things and we hope you have continued
success with your program. – Thank you. – Well thanks so much
for joining us today. – Thank you. – Now last thing
I should ask you, if people want more
information where can they go or who can they contact? – They can contact me
at the Sheriff’s office. My number’s 299-7350. – All right, well Julie,
thanks for joining us today. – Thank you. – Stay tuned for more. (pleasant guitar music) – The Pat Lenertz Band
is a group of musicians whose sense of brotherhood
brings unity to their music. They’ve released several albums and tour the region regularly. Here’s a segment from
their performance on Prairie Musicians. (country rock music) ♪ If I could flow in the rain ♪ ♪ I’d drift along under
your window pane ♪ ♪ If I could fly like a bird ♪ ♪ Be your power to the world ♪ ♪ And I’ll be so free ♪ ♪ Be you and me ♪ ♪ Leave your pain at
the door and then ♪ ♪ I’ll be home again ♪ ♪ Home again ♪ ♪ Our time is now time is real ♪ ♪ Cause in my heart
that’s how I feel ♪ ♪ You and I have what it takes ♪ ♪ Driving down on
the road we make ♪ ♪ Then I’ll be so free ♪ ♪ Be you and me ♪ ♪ Leave your pain at
the door and then ♪ ♪ I’ll be home again ♪ ♪ Home again ♪ ♪ Home again ♪ (keyboard organ solo) ♪ Love can be patient
love can be kind ♪ ♪ Okay now it’s what we find ♪ ♪ It’s gonna be great
just wait and see ♪ ♪ For you and me ♪ ♪ I can see down the road ♪ ♪ Our way will be
paved in gold ♪ ♪ We are blessed
because I know ♪ ♪ We got what it takes
to make things grow ♪ ♪ And I’ll be so free ♪ ♪ Be you and me ♪ ♪ Leave your pain at
the door and then ♪ ♪ I’ll be home again ♪ ♪ Home again ♪ ♪ Home again ♪ (electric guitar solo) (keyboard organ solo) (gentle folksy guitar tune) ♪ Farewell to you
my old friend ♪ ♪ I’m sure I’ll see you again ♪ ♪ You never got
what you wanted ♪ ♪ That’s life and in the end ♪ ♪ Farewell to you
my old friend ♪ ♪ I wish I could close
your mournful eyes ♪ ♪ When I think about what
you saw I start to cry ♪ ♪ Well I’ll be
there to help you ♪ ♪ To answer the
how’s and why’s ♪ ♪ Wish I could close
your mournful eyes ♪ ♪ Farewell to you
my old friend ♪ ♪ I’m sure I’ll see you again ♪ ♪ You never got
what you wanted ♪ ♪ That’s life and in the end ♪ ♪ Farewell to you
my old friend ♪ ♪ I feel like I let you down ♪ ♪ Know I wasn’t around ♪ ♪ I can sing with
the best of them ♪ ♪ And now I can’t make a sound ♪ ♪ I feel like I let you down ♪ ♪ Farewell to you
my old friend ♪ ♪ I’m sure I’ll see you again ♪ ♪ You never got
what you wanted ♪ ♪ That’s life and in the end ♪ ♪ Farewell to you
my old friend ♪ ♪ Someday we’ll meet again ♪ ♪ I know this won’t be the end ♪ ♪ My hands are always ♪ ♪ And forever there to lend ♪ ♪ Someday we’ll meet again ♪ ♪ Farewell to you
my old friend ♪ ♪ I’m sure I’ll see you again ♪ ♪ You never got
what you wanted ♪ ♪ That’s life and in the end ♪ ♪ Farewell to you
my old friend ♪ ♪ Farewell to you
my old friend ♪ ♪ I’m sure I’ll see you again ♪ ♪ You never got
what you wanted ♪ ♪ That’s life and in the end ♪ ♪ Farewell to you
my old friend ♪ – Well, that’s all we have
on Prairie Pulse this week. And as always,
thanks for watching. (upbeat music) – Funded by the Minnesota Arts
and Cultural Heritage Fund with money from the vote
of the people of Minnesota on November 4th, 2008 and by
the members of Prairie Public.