Erie County Forensic Mental Health Services (ECFMHS)

The Division of Forensic Psychiatry’s long-standing relationship with Erie County Forensic Mental Health Services enables faculty and trainees to provide psychiatric care to youths and adults in local correctional and detention facilities.

Erie County Forensic Mental Health Services (ECFMHS) works to synthesize the interface among psychiatry, psychology, social work, nursing and law.

As a forensic psychology student, you’ll find that working in ECFMHS provides you with comprehensive training that gives you the skills you need for a successful career as a practicing psychologist. 

The time you spend in ECFMHS will augment your clinical knowledge and provide you with valuable experience working in an interdisciplinary setting.

Diverse Patient Population

ECFMHS provides clinical mental health services through adult forensic mental health clinics at:

  • Erie County Holding Center, a pretrial, maximum security detention facility where more than 20,000 inmates are processed annually
  • Erie County Correctional Facility, a medium-security facility in Alden, N.Y., which can house approximately 1,070 inmates
  • Erie County Medical Center, where ECFMHS operates a two-bed forensic unit for inmates with acute psychiatric symptoms

At these locations, you’ll have opportunities to work with non-arraigned, non-sentenced, sentenced and federal inmates. You’ll see adult patients and adolescents adjudicated as adults.

ECFMHS follows approximately 300 to 400 inmates for mental health issues at any given time. The patients housed at these facilities represent a multinational and multicultural population.

You’ll see psychiatric problems ranging from serious mental illness — such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression — to personality disorders including antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Many patients have coexisting substance use disorders, and many experience suicidal ideation.

Wide Range of Services

ECFMHS provides:

  • court-ordered psychiatric and psychological evaluations to determine patients’ competency
  • therapy and pharmaceutical treatment for inmates, which helps enable their participation in court proceedings
  • ongoing psychological assessment of inmates on behalf of clinical staff, treatment teams, probation and parole officers, attorneys and youth detention personnel
  • advocacy and linkage to community mental health services for individuals on probation 

ECFMHS also provides professional training programs on forensic mental health issues to staff and trainees from a variety of fields, including social work, nursing, the criminal justice system and law enforcement.