Panelists Talk Mental Health Court Possibilities

  Local officials think a mental health court could be an answer to reducing crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton county.
   A panel of experts met on Monday to explore the best way to help mentally ill defendants.
        The judges say the Mental Health Courts won’t give "get out of jail free cards".  Instead, they’ll help and monitor mentally ill defendants more closely to keep them from becoming repeat offenders.
        Experts will be able to determine who is right for the program and what type of help they need.
        "If someone thinks they can fool the system by getting into a mental health court they can get their records swiped clean, there will be checks and balances in place to make sure the person is appropriately coming through a court, they do have a diagnosis and they’re there to work on their issues," said Donna Maddox of Johnson Mental Health.
   This is the first panel discussion on the mental health court..and organizers plan to have others.
     They’re still in the planning phase so there is no set date on when they hope to have the courts running.
Categories: Local News

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