The Los Angeles County jail system has, at times, been
termed the largest mental health hospital in the country.
In 1972, in order to address the needs of those inmates with
mental illness, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
(LASD), who manages the jail, in collaboration with the
Department of Mental Health (DMH), established on-site Jail
Mental Health Services (JMHS) as well as specialized mental
The primary responsibility of the Mental Health Liaison is to work with the Department of Mental Health, Jail Mental Health Program. This is an important collaboration as a seamless and cooperative partnership means a higher level of service for the mentally ill offenders.
Mental health services for men are provided at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, located in downtown Los Angeles, and services for women are provided at the Century Regional Detention Facility located in Lynwood which is 15 miles to the south of downtown.
Of the nearly 20,000 inmates housed daily within the Los Angeles County jails, approximately 2,000 are diagnosed with a mental illness, 90% of which report co-occurring substance abuse.
Included in JMHS is the Jail Mental Evaluation Teams (JMET). There are six JMET teams, two located in the North County, three are located at Men’s Central Jail and one at Twin Towers Correctional Facility. Each team consists of one deputy sheriff and one DMH clinician. The teams provide outreach mental health services to inmates in the jail’s general population, identifying inmates who develop new mental health symptoms while in jail, or who may have evaded detection in the Inmate Reception Center screening process.
A mental health screening is conducted on every individual who passes through the Inmate Reception Center.
The Department’s website provides loved ones of the mentally ill an opportunity to connect with the Department immediately after their mentally ill family member or friend has been arrested. This website link gives loved ones specific direction on how to provide vital and critical information to the Department regarding such things as diagnosis and medication regiment.