More about Mental Health Court
It is clear that there is a link between criminal behavior as it relates to mental illness, and related offenses such as, battery, aggravated battery, criminal trespass, possession of a controlled substance, theft, forgery, burglary and others.
The criminal justice system has the unique ability to influence a person shortly after a significant triggering event such as an arrest. Statistics show that by offering the offender counseling, mental health education, life skills groups, prosocial activities, housing, drug treatment, career guidance, support and close supervision recidivism rates drop drastically.
It costs approximately $3,000 to put a person through Mental Health Court. Taxpayers pay about $21,600/ year for Illinois Department of Corrections. For every dollar invested in Mental Health Court, many more are saved by corrections. Additionally, when the imprisoned person returns to the streets, they are forever marked and have no further skills to understand and deal with their mental illness. It is difficult to obtain a job and likely they will return to old behaviors. The result is a revolving door syndrome in which offenders cycle in and out of the system.
On the other hand, the person who finishes Mental Health Court is given a chance to return to society as a productive citizen, with increased educational and job opportunities. Instead of becoming a drain on society, the successful participant becomes a contributor. Not only do offenders benefit, but public safety is strengthened through the accountability and monitoring that occurs.
The mission of Will County Mental Health Court is to provide comprehensive mental health and addiction services as well as therapeutic judicial intervention through a team approach to defendants with severe mental illness or co-occurring disorders in an effort to reduce recidivism, improve the quality of life, and protect and improve public safety.
The goals and objectives of Mental Health Court are to give participants the tools to manage their mental illness and if applicable, overcome their addictions, so that they can prevent further criminal activity and go on to live a healthy and drug free life. Through the treatment services provided to its participants, Mental Health Court enhances public safety in a fiscally responsible manner and improves the quality of life for the individual participants, their families, and the community by reducing the likelihood that they will reoffend by comprehensively addressing their criminogenic risks and needs.
Graduations occur several times a year as the culmination of the formal part of the program. At that time, many felony charges are stricken with leave to reinstate. This allows for those felony charges to then be removed from the record. Graduates are highly encouraged to attend follow up classes as alumni members to provide additional support. Over 70 graduates have successfully completed Mental Health Court.
For more information regarding the Will County Drug Court, call Julie McCabe-Sterr, Problem Solving Court Coordinator at (815) 727-8453 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org