Department of Corrections Announces Comprehensive Review of Procedures Related to Inmates with Mental Health Conditions
Tallahassee, Fla – In order to ensure the safety of Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) staff and of inmates with mental health conditions in DOC custody, Secretary Michael Crews announced today that he has directed Dr. Dean Aufderheide, Director of Mental Health Services, and James Upchurch, Assistant Secretary of Institutions, to conduct a comprehensive review of all Department policies related to the care of inmates with mental health conditions.
Dr. Aufderheide, a nationally recognized expert in mental health care, and Mr. Upchurch, also a nationally recognized expert in institutional and security operations, will collaborate with mental health practitioners and facility administrators of institutions that provide in-patient, mental health services to ensure that the Department continues to utilize best practices related to the care of inmates with mental health conditions, review initiatives currently in progress and explore any additional concepts that may enhance Department policies and procedures.
“Through this review, the Department will build upon the existing training and resources staff has received to help them recognize mental illness and take appropriate measures to deescalate incidents without force being necessary,” said Secretary Crews. "We are confident this review will improve consistent application of best practices, while ensuring our actions are reflective of the Department’s mission to promote safety of the public, our staff and our inmates by providing security, supervision, and care."
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, oversees more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.