OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A center that is known for its free grief support services for families is working to help detainees at the Oklahoma County Detention Center.
Calm Waters Center for Children and Families announced that it is launching a new program with the Oklahoma County Detention Center to provide free grief support groups and workshops to detainees at the jail.
Organizers say the program will feature grief workshops and weekly support groups for incarcerated men and women.
Calm Waters Executive Director Erin Engelke was asked to serve on the Criminal Justice Authority Citizens Advisory Board at the jail.
She said she learned about the severe lack of mental health resources for individuals at the facility.
Mac Mullings, Jail Program Coordinator, estimates that three-fourths of the jail’s 1,600 detainees suffer from some kind of mental health issues.
“Grief lives in this building,” Mullings said.
Beginning in January, Grief Support Groups will meet once a week for a nine-week series. Each group will consist of 10 individuals, and there will be four groups total in the first series.
“While the OK County Jail detainees may come from vastly different cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds, there is likely one common thread that binds them together: trauma, and unfortunately that grief and trauma has led to problematic choices,” said Engelke. “As central Oklahoma’s only grief center, we are truly honored to be able to expand our programming to provide desperately needed mental health support services to men and women who are incarcerated.”
All detainees are welcome to register and there are no qualifiers on the type of grief they are experiencing.
Organizers say all curriculum has been created specifically for those in the jail.
“As administrators of the Jail, we recognize many of our detainees are dealing with a wide variety of mental health struggles, including dealing with grief,” said Greg Williams, Oklahoma County Detention Center CEO. “As much as possible, we provide services to help people while they are in our custody. We appreciate partners like Calm Waters who are willing to step up and care for those in need. With their help, we can create a safer, more secure facility for our community.”