Behavioral Health Services
The Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Department (CJRD) provides behavioral health services to people in the Orange County Detention Center who have mental health and/or substance use needs. The CJRD has two clinical social workers on staff who work with incarcerated people by providing behavioral health services during the period of incarceration, advocating for release so that needs can be served in the community by a network of behavioral health and other service providers, and continuing to work with people upon release to ensure that their needs are met.
Our youth behavioral health liaison accepts referrals from juvenile court, schools, and other community organizations to assist at-risk youth 19 and under and their families with behavioral health needs by providing assessments and assisting with service referrals.
If you are incarcerated in the Orange County Detention Center and would like to talk with one of our social workers about behavioral health or housing support you can submit a request to see Allison Zirkel (ages 20 and up) or Tami Pfeifer (ages 19 and under) using the jail grievance form. If you know someone who is incarcerated in the Orange County Detention Center who has a behavioral health concern, you are welcome to contact Tami Pfeifer (ages 19 and under) or Allison Zirkel (ages 20 and up) using the contact information in the right hand side bar.
Services provided include the following:
- Crisis support and brief counseling
- Referrals to treatment
- Court advocacy
- Linkage to other community supports
- Release planning
- Housing support
- Follow up and support during the transition back to the community
- Bridge to finding services to assist individuals and families upon release
- Psychiatric (medication management) referral
Although jail-based mental health and substance use services are helpful to those in need, the Detention Center is not designed to serve as a treatment facility. Individuals with these needs are best served in the community and we work to advocate for diversionary alternatives as well as for timely release from custody when safe and appropriate. However, for those who remain incarcerated, these services are valuable and will continue to be expanded in the future.
Approximately 2 million times each year, people who have serious mental illnesses are admitted to jails across the nation. Nearly 15% of men and 30% of women booked into jails have a serious mental health condition. Almost three-quarters of these adults also have drug and alcohol use problems. In counties across the nation, jails now have more people with mental illnesses than in their psychiatric hospitals. Once incarcerated, individuals with mental illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and upon release are at a higher risk of returning to incarceration than those without these illnesses.
In 2015, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners adopted the Stepping Up Initiative, a national initiative whose goal is to achieve a measurable reduction in the number of people in jails who have mental illnesses.
See our left side menu for information on other resources to support those needed behavioral health services, and other programs that we partner with to serve this community.