EUREKA – County employees who work closely with the mentally unstable had special training Monday from a jail-transitioning program expert out of Eugene, Oregon.
Instructor, Nicholas Crapser, concentrated the course on how to effectively communicate with inmates and those struggling, and encourage them to change their lives.
“Ultimately what I would really like to see is a reduction of recidivism, reduction in the times people are arrested and taken back to jail,” said Crapser, “and I think that’s the goal that we’re all after and i think that getting everyone on the same page and getting everyone together with the same focus on goals and objectives is imperative to that.”
Deputies of the Humboldt County Jail, mental health staff of the Department of Health and Human Services, and other practitioners who work with inmates and the like gathered to learn about motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.
They focused on how to structure conversations, with emphasis on open ended questions and allowing their client to come to their own conclusions.
With recent outbreaks of violence in the Humboldt County Jail and daily challenges, staff members in attendance say they found the training valuable.
“If you can get someone to realize and be self-aware of what they are doing wrong, maybe there’s less likely of a chance for them to do it in the future,” said Correctional Deputy Kendall Luna, “We can make a difference with these people – to send them back in to the community with some hope rather than just the regular ‘I’m getting out to come back in.’”
“The training that we’re getting really is client centered, and it is really empowering the client to lead their own healing process and it’s helping giving us the tools to bring that out of people – so they’re guiding the ship of their process,” added Mental Health Clinician of the CCT Outpatient Program, James Rockwell.
Following this workshop, there will be more work done by jail staff to promote successful communication – Jail Programs Coordinator Vanessa Vrtiak will lead a five session motivational enhancement therapy course, to continue to teach staff how to motivate the incarcerated.