July 7, 2022

Art & Lifestyle:

Community Corrections Center Plan Introduced


The St. Mary’s County Equity Task Force, comprised of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, health department, and public school system is announcing plans for the launch of a new Community Corrections Center.

The Community Corrections Center will advance equity in public safety, health, and education. Non-violent offenders involved in the criminal justice system will have expanded access to behavioral health evaluation and treatment, including for mental health and substance use disorders.

A variety of community partners will collaborate in the center to address gaps in health care, education, and other life needs in order to support meaningful rehabilitation and mitigate factors contributing to crime. The new facility also allows for continued medical and behavioral health services to the detention center and pre-trial release populations while meeting the safety recommendations of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Detention and Rehabilitation Center has been recognized as a state and national leader for its successful pre-trial services program, which allows certain offenders to continue working while incarcerated or to receive medical services,” Sheriff Tim Cameron said. “We recognize that incarceration of our community members alone is not the answer. A comprehensive approach is required to provide increased services to members of our challenged population. The sheriff’s office, the St. Mary’s County Health Department, and our public schools are working together to meet these needs.”

“Individuals involved in the criminal justice system may experience worse health outcomes related to their limited access to health care services. For some, underlying health conditions, including mental health concerns and substance use disorders, may contribute to their involvement in crime.” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County health officer. “The Community Corrections Center gives us an opportunity to better address these root causes and stop the cycle of crime and poor health.”

“St. Mary’s County Public Schools, in partnering with the St. Mary’s County Health Department and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, is committed to the Community Corrections Center,” said Dr. J. Scott Smith, superintendent of SMCPS. “It is our core belief that education is an essential component of rehabilitation – ultimately unlocking recovery and opportunity.”

The task force gave special thanks to St. Mary’s County government, St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works, and the town of Leonardtown for the ongoing support they have provided for the project.

Projected completion for the Community Corrections Center is January 2021.

Learn more at www.smchd.org/equity.

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