Morgan County Sheriff Ron Puckett talks inmate mental health

He’s been on the job for about three months, and as the former police chief in Hartselle, Morgan County Sheriff Ron Puckett already understood many of the issues confronting the sheriff’s office – one of them is responding to a call about a mental health crisis.

“We try to talk them into going to the hospital, and if they refuse to go to the hospital, generally speaking, they’re going to do something such as disorderly conduct and make us have to arrest them. We choose to arrest them because if we leave, if there’s nothing we can do, we leave and pretty soon we get a call and they’re back at it and we have to respond again. So we arrest them and put them in our jail. Our jail is incarceration, it’s intended to be punishment, it’s not set up for mental health care. In our jail, it’s probably 40 percent of our inmates that are going through a mental health crisis and that’s why they’re in our jail.”

Watch our full interview with Sheriff Puckett below:

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