Home Main Category Announcements Mental Health Module Opened At Martinez Detention Facility

Mental Health Module Opened At Martinez Detention Facility

Photo: Office of the Sheriff

From the Office of the Sheriff:

A new module for inmates who have mental illnesses has opened at the Martinez Detention Facility. This follows an 18-month remodel of a module which previously held 52 inmates. Now, it will house only 24 inmates who have mental illnesses.

They will be supervised 24/7 by county health staff in addition to deputy sheriffs. The cells are all single-occupancy and include 5 cells for acute cases. There are also two private medical evaluation suites in the module.

“I am proud of this new module which is part of the jail modernization we planned many years ago,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston. “Now, inmates who have mental illnesses will have a dedicated housing unit where they will receive mental health treatment, programming, and services, in addition to healthcare.”

The new module has incorporated the latest technology and best practices for detention facilities. This includes state of the art software for managing the module, furnishings that will help prevent suicides and a design that allows for greater observation of the inmates.

The new module also uses a biophilic design to create a calm environment, reduce stress, and is more conducive to therapy.

“This new module sets the standard for these types of detention facilities,” said Sheriff Livingston. “This reflects the commitment of the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and Contra Costa County in serving the needs of inmates who are living with mental health issues.”


  1. Biophilic? That’s not apparent. It looks “institutional” to me. I don’t see a single living plant or sunlit window, so how does it connect to nature?? as in “biophilic”? I see steel doors and a steel staircase. I see ceiling surveillance cameras. It looks like it’s designed to be hosed down. I think we are being sold “clean coal” when we need something new that might work, might not work, but is something real and practical. This looks like an update of something from a hundred years ago.

    • Yea I’m not seeing it either. Nice that they’re thinking about it but we still have a way to go I think.

    • @David- you do know this is the main jail (where they house those that can’t be housed in less secure county facilities)and this is the unit for those that are awaiting court for violent crimes or waiting to be transferred to state facilities after being sentenced,it’s not a mental health ward.
      I worked this unit numerous times and there is a reason it’s all steel and cement with cameras everywhere. Wood doors, outdoor areas and plants…Use a little common sense !

      FYI- it’s not an old facility, the MDF opened in 1981 and was praised nationally for its design. I hated working there, it was dangerous for staff due to inmate levels and it’s design added to the problem. I believe they have lowered the ratios which is good.

      You specifically comment constantly on the system we have in place, which is good, we need people on the left and right to keep a balance and bring attention if things aren’t right. The main jail used to offer tours occasionally I think you and others should look into it. The people housed in the MDF are there for a reason, and this unit is not for long term stays.

      • My observation is that the picture doesn’t match the pretty words. Not a surprise in an election year.

        Your statement: “it’s not a mental health ward” does confuse me since the announcement states this: “Now, it will house only 24 inmates who have mental illnesses.”

        Lowered ratios is good!

        • @David- My definition of a mental health ward is a facility that is focused on treatment of those with mental illness. A jail is focused on housing criminals or those charged with a crime who must be held. The inmates on “M” module have committed crimes and have mental illness and IMO treatment is/was focused on keeping them stabile, not necessarily to treat their illness. Inmates on “M” aren’t housed there long enough to focus on treatment. If you want county jails to treat mental illness be prepared to foot a huge bill, and honestly it’s not the Sheriff’s job to treat mental illness. The Sheriff’s job with detention is to house all under his control in a safe environment until their court or county time is completed.

          How much treatment can be accomplished in 1-12 months?

          I agree the articles wording is a lot over the top, probably words written by the company in charge of the renovation. I don’t believe Sheriff Livingstone is designing jails.

          • Hey, Rip, we know you’re talking with David there and that’s great, we don’t want to interrupt, but we just wanted to say that the release came straight from the Office of the Sheriff… or so it was marked. Just for clarification’s sake!

            Be good, enjoying your posts…


          • I have no inside knowledge of this. I’m just reacting to the public notice. I appreciate your informed feedback/input. Stay safe!

  2. “I am proud of this new module which is part of the jail modernization we planned many years ago,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston.

    “Many years” in the planning, and this is his offer to you, to us. Well, if you believe that offer is “jail modernization” and “biophilic”, bless your heart, you should vote for this man. I am of a different opinion.

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