One voice for the Office of Sheriff
NSA is pleased to announce that Chief Deputy John Russell, of the Yavapai County, Arizona Sheriff’s Office, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Corrections/Jail Innovations Award of the Year.
One of the greatest challenges facing the criminal justice system throughout the nation is the pervasive incidence of mental health issues among criminal defendants. It has been estimated that as many as three quarters of state, federal and county jail inmates meet criteria foe either mental health or substance use problems. Constitutional requirements demand that defendants be sufficiently competent mentally so they can understand legal proceedings and participate in their defense. Mental health treatment is among the most costly areas of healthcare, and the need to restore competency imposes a significant burden on corrections systems already facing severe budget constraints.
Chief Deputy Russell partnered with the Yavapai County jail healthcare provider, Wexford Health Sources, to develop a jail based Restoration to Competency (RTC) program. Under the program, defendants undergo up to date treatment from skilled clinical staff to regain mental competence in preparation for their appearance in court. RTC enables the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office to provide these required mental health services to detainees in its own facility, significantly cutting costs on inmate security, transportation and hospital bed fees. The program became fiscally feasible when Yavapai County reached agreements with most other Arizona counties to also have their detainees treated at the Yavapai jail. The program has been an undisputed success, restring competency for 79 percent of inmates at a savings to taxpayers of more than $6.75 million.
Chief Deputy Russell is an Arizona native and has lived in Yavapai County for over 40 years. He is a 27-year law enforcement veteran and has spent the last 25 years with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. He started his career working patrol in outlying areas of the county and currently manages the law enforcement and detention divisions.
He has worked in or supervised nearly every aspect of the law enforcement field, to include patrol, criminal investigations, SWAT, traffic, animal control, and detention. Chief Deputy Russell has instructed officers nationwide in the traffic enforcement related fields of alcohol and drug impairment and has testified in court as a drug recognition expert.
Highlights of his career include a one-year internship with the Department of Justice and NHTSA in Washington, DC. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy. Command assignments include SWAT commander, Northern Arizona Regional Transit Academy Commander, Law Enforcement Operations Commander, and the Detention Services Commander.
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