Commissioners Approve New Mental Health Counselor for Benton Co. - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Commissioners Approve New Mental Health Counselor for Benton Co. Jail

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Benton County commissioners are working to address inmate mental health issues at the jail and to do it cost effectively.

Mental health is a serious issue at jails and Tuesday the Benton County commissioners approved an additional mental health counselor for the Benton County Jail.

Commissioner Shon Small said the new counselor will assess the inmates' issues and help the two current counselors meet the growing demand for mental health care.

The jail spends thousands of dollars every year on psychotropic drugs, but Tuesday the commissioners approved $30,000 in funding from the Benton Franklin Department of Human Services to cut back on the financial toll it's taking on the jail budget.

"We're trying to get as efficient as we can in regards to addressing certain issues so we don't have to raise taxes or actually try to implement any types of taxes. Some counties have actually implemented a .01 mental health tax," said Small.

The jail hopes these changes will help treat and maintain inmates' mental stability.

The new counselor and funding is scheduled to start on July 1st.