Mental health courts could reduce overcrowding - WNEM TV 5

Mental health courts could reduce overcrowding

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There could be a new way to treat inmates who suffer from mental illness. A bill that just passed the state house would offer treatment to those inmates through a program called mental health courts, without any jailtime.

Supporters say everyone could benefit.

This week, lawmakers in Lansing moved forward with a set of bills designed to increase the use of those mental health courts.

Supporters of the legislation say having more money directed to the courts would help reduce the risk of repeat offenders.

This would keep them out of jail and help give them the help they need.

The state currently has mental health courts in 10 counties including one in Saginaw. According to at least one Saginaw County judge, funds to continue or expand the program will be helpful.

That's because the courts give judges the ability to send mentally ill residents for treatment, rather than just send them to jail.

Although certain offenders, like those convicted of violent crimes would not be eligible. The four-bill house package is now heading to the state senate for consideration.

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