Mississippi State Hospital Partners with Region 8 for Forensic Services

Dr. Thomas Recore, Dr. Amanda Gugliano, and Dr. Reb McMichael from Mississippi State Hospital (MSH) Forensic Services, along with hospital director James Chastain, attended a meeting of the Mississippi Association of Community Mental Health Centers on Aug. 9 to share information about two new programs impacting services statewide.

MSH, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and the Region 8 CMHC have partnered in a pilot program to implement jail-based competence restoration services in Hinds and Madison counties.

“Two dedicated Region 8 staff members, who trained with Dr. Recore, are now providing evaluations in the Hinds and Madison detention centers,” said Emile Craig, Director of Administration for the Region 8 CMHC. “We’ve only been up and running for about a month, but we’ve already gotten very good feedback from both of those detention centers. … When we first went to them with this program, they welcomed us with open arms: ‘Yes, we need this.’

“We’re proud to partner with the Department of Mental Health in this program. We should have impressive outcomes as this gets going.”

These jail-based services can divert some individuals from ever having to be admitted to the hospital and can reduce the time an individual might require for inpatient services at MSH, which has a lengthy waiting list for the 15 beds dedicated for inpatient evaluation, treatment and competency restoration. This is also a cost-efficient program.

In a related initiative, MSH is recruiting licensed psychologists and psychiatrists for a Community-Based Forensic Screening Evaluations of Competence to Stand Trial Training Program. The first training program is scheduled for Aug. 28-30 at MSH’s Whitfield campus. The program is designed to increase the number of qualified evaluators available to courts to perform competence evaluations.

Both programs are part of an ongoing effort to make forensic services more readily available from community-based providers at the local level.