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Proposed Sobering Center Presentation Public Safety Committee February 28, 2012

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Proposed Sobering Center Presentation Public Safety Committee February 28, 2012. Background Information. City jail operations cost $25 million per year An estimated $4-6 million is attributed to public intoxication cases

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Proposed Sobering Center


Public Safety Committee

February 28, 2012

background information
Background Information
  • City jail operations cost $25 million per year
    • An estimated $4-6 million is attributed to public intoxication cases
  • Incarcerating individuals whose only criminal behavior is public intoxication diverts law enforcement from more serious or life threatening crimes.
  • Intoxicated individuals often pose a hazard to themselves as well as to the general public.
  • Best practices elsewhere suggest a more cost effective/long term option approach.
goals of sobering center
Goals of Sobering Center
  • Provide an alternative to jail
  • Provide triage, observation and necessary outpatient services to manage intoxication
  • Provide opportunities for long term treatment by linking detainees to appropriate social service agencies
effects of the sobering center
Effects of the Sobering Center
  • HPD field personnel will use less time processing this target population.
  • The time savings will allow HPD field personnel to return to their assigned neighborhoods to address more serious crime and disorder problems.
  • Will increase holding capacity in the city jail for more serious criminals.
operational details
Operational Details
  • Officer transports person to the Sobering Center – rather than taking them to jail; judgment by officer on suitability for the Center
  • Officer completes a one page form (approximately 10 minutes) and returns to duty; no arrest record will be made
  • Person is identified, logged in and subjected to a health screen (similar to what is currently done in the city jail)
  • Person is assigned to a “bed” with males and females separated
  • Person is observed by staff until sober (minimum 4 hours) determined on case by case status
  • When sober, the person will meet with a counselor to discuss how to address affliction(s) – link to social service agencies
  • When sober, person without warrants is discharged
  • When sober, person with city warrants has the option to use video arraignment (refuses option, goes to jail) then discharged
proposed sobering center location
Proposed Sobering Center Location
  • A large number of potential city-wide sites were considered based on:
    • Appropriate neighborhood
    • Accessibility for HPD and other police agencies
    • Recognized need to be near HPD Mental Health Unit
    • Availability of social services
  • Houston acquired information from the following agencies:

San Antonio “Public Safety Center”

San Diego


Colorado Springs

Portland, Oregon

proposed sobering center concept
Proposed Sobering Center Concept
  • A 10-year lease with the Star of Hope (SOH) with two 5-year options to extend:
      • Estimated costs for lease, utilities and staff of $1.5m/annually to be in the FY 13 budget
      • SOH will build out existing facility utilizing $3m of available Public Safety Bond funds based on City approval of design
      • City will monitor construction process and expenditures
      • HPD’s Mental Health Unit will co-locate on second floor of facility
      • Lease will be assigned to a Public/Private Partnership
  • Center will be operated as a secular Public/Private Partnership under a service contract:
      • Service contract will be signed by thePublic/Private Partnership and the City of Houston
      • HPD, Health and Human Services and HFD will provide city services at the site
public private partnership
Public/Private Partnership
  • City Council authorizes the creation of a Public/Private Partnership in the form of a “Local Government Corporation” (LGC) for the Sobering Center
    • The mission of the LGC as a Public/Private Partnership will focus on short term treatment and intervention opportunities professionally delivered
  • The LGC Board will be comprised of 5 members, including 4 directors and a Chair
    • 2 City of Houston appointees
    • 2 SOH appointees
    • Chair – to be selected by 4 Board Members
  • All 5 appointees will be nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council
  • A 501(c) (3) foundation will also be created to aid in future fundraising for operations and possible future expansion
lgc service contract
LGC Service Contract
  • The LGC Executive Director will be the key manager, reporting directly to
  • the LGC Board and will be responsible for all Sobering Center personnel and
  • operations of this secular facility
  • The facility will require health screening for entering detainees and the Health
  • and Human Services Department will provide health screeners - which is done in
  • jail today
  • LGC will acquire liability insurance, directors and officer insurance and other
  • insurance as appropriate
  • LGC will contract with SOH for lead referral services (SOH has offered a
  • counselor at no cost)
    • LGC will facilitate connections with other allied social service providers
    • and invite their participation
steps to be taken
Steps to be Taken
  • March 7 – Advance funding request to complete construction drawings including cost estimates for planning and detailing capital improvements on City Council agenda
  • End of April or earlier
    • Facility lease
    • Documents to create the Public/Private Partnership (LGC)
    • Operating agreement between the City and the Partnership to include staffing and other procedural agreements and budget basis.
  • The availability of and ready access to ongoing community-based outpatient substance abuse services is a potential cost reduction and productivity improvement step for the City.
  • The activities of the Sobering Center are fully consistent with Medical Professionals definition of the treatment of addiction as a disease.
  • Sobering Centers in other cities have proven to be time savers for patrol officers, which allows them to quickly return to their assigned neighborhoods.
  • With a successful link to social service agencies, there will be fewer public intoxication related calls requiring officer intervention – hence more time they can direct to other more pressing crime and disorder issues.