Crisis Intervention Training Deployed To Jail Personnel

Modified: March 6, 2017 12:42pm


Deputies & Officers Attend 3-Day Training Addressing Inmates with Mental Illness


Buffalo, NY – Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard announces the expansion of mental health intervention training to aid jail personnel when dealing with the many inmates with mental health issues processed into the County’s correctional system. 

Approximately thirty Deputies and Corrections Officers assigned to specific housing areas of the holding center and the correctional facility will attend the training in staggered classes beginning March 6. 

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with Crisis Services to develop and implement a correctional-based crisis intervention training program uniquely designed to work within a correctional setting and educate officers about the signs and symptoms of mental illness.  Coupled with the knowledge to detect the signs of mental illness is a training model that emphasizes de-escalation techniques and the utilization of support services to prevent explosive situations. 

In addition to gaining familiarity with the signs and services, officers will broaden their comprehension of mental illness and substance abuse issues while increasing their comfort levels and preparedness when encountering inmates with signs of mental illness.  Officers will learn to understand and recognize psychiatric signs and symptoms and learn proven tactics to calm and reassure inmates before a situation escalates into a larger and more violent problem. 

“I have talked about the cut to mental health programs and facilities for some time now and warned of the financial impact on jail budgets and emotional toll it takes on Deputies and Corrections Officers,” states Sheriff Timothy Howard.  “In Erie County, we cannot avoid the state and national trend of housing more mentally ill inmates or those with substance abuse issues in a jail setting, and I recognize the need for my officers to receive additional and enhanced training when dealing with mentally ill inmates.” 

The Sheriff’s office and Crisis Services have developed a three-day training module designed specifically for Jail Management Division officers.  The training will host thirty officers and will comprise a broad theory of teaching with hands-on training and role playing. Specialists from the mental health community and family of mentally ill individuals will address such topics as: 

  • Using Empathy and Communication
  • Barriers to Recovery
  • Trauma
  • Effective Communication
  • Suicide Preventions
  • De-escalation techniques
  • Applying Crisis Intervention Techniques in a Jail 

National studies and local data demonstrate a growing success with the training and techniques in de-escalating situations and reducing injuries to jail personnel and inmates.  The estimated cost of the three-day training program is $12,500 and is paid for by a grant from the Patrick Lee Foundation. 

The Sheriff’s training begins March 6 and will continue through March 8 at the Erie County Fire Training Center in Cheektowaga.