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Tuscaloosa County now has a mental health clerk

Updated: Jan. 23, 2020 at 6:06 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA CO., Ala. (WBRC) - Corrections officers are now not the only people keeping an eye on mentally ill inmates in the Tuscaloosa County Jail.

“We have these folks who we know need assistance and tracking as they get out of jail. And this is a step in terms of getting where we need to be,” Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge Rob Robertson explained.

Judge Robertson announced Wednesday, Tuscaloosa county will use a $50,000 grant from Indian Rivers Mental Health Center to create a mental health clerk position for the county.

“We’re all looking at what’s the best model, where so we need to put some resources to start working and addressing the problem. Because the cost of doing nothing is unacceptable,” he continued.

Robertson feels there’s a revolving door of people with mental health problems who go from the streets, to the jail and back. He believes they can reduce that trend by monitoring them better while in custody and after they’re released.

That’s what Camisha Thomas-Shabazz will do as the Tuscaloosa County’s first mental health clerk. Her job duties will include attending court with Robertson on matters dealing with people with mental health problems and becoming a liaison between Tuscaloosa County and several of the mental hospitals in the area.

“We’re trying to ensure they receive the treatment they need while they’re in jail and also...help them on a wider range of resources.”

Robertson says Tuscaloosa County is now the 19th county in the state to participate in the Stepping Up Program.

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