EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) has launched a new pilot program aimed to help incarcerated individuals experiencing emotional or behavioral distress.

The TRUST (Therapeutic Response Unit and Stabilization Team) program provides a therapeutic response to situations that inmates experience at the El Paso County Jail. The team will respond to inmates experiencing a behavioral health crisis and will also be responsible for competency involvement within the jail.

Individualized counseling is also provided by the TRUST team and includes; service planning, diagnostic and medication referrals, along with behavior modification and transition planning. The team also ensures that a continuum of care and access to resources is provided.

“Addressing mental health issues is a priority for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office,” states EPSO Sheriff Bill Elder. “Individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis will now have an opportunity for an enhanced law enforcement response in the Jail.”

The specialized unit is staffed with two clinicians and a supervisor, who are all trained in crisis response. During the initial month of the initiative, EPSO says the program has seen success in de-escalating inmates experiencing acute and prolonged emotional distress.

The TRUST team also assists EPSO deputies with de-escalation and crisis intervention strategies, that are oriented toward recovery and resilience.

“This interaction will provide the best outcomes for those in crisis. I am committed to making sure our workforce is well prepared to respond and deal with this segment of our population,” says Elder.