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Monroe Co. To Create Mental Health Court
Updated October 12, 2014 10:53 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(BLOOMINGTON) - Monroe County is creating a mental health court to provide services for offenders with mental health disorders, substance abuse issues, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorders.

The Herald Times reports, the new program will start taking referrals next week.

Changes to Indiana's criminal code encourages communities to offer treatment and rehabilitation services to low-level offenders through probation and community corrections programs. State grant money will help pay for the pilot program.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 56 percent of prison inmates have mental health issues, and only one-third of those affected receive treatment.

Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal says the goal of the program is to keep people mentally stable and out of trouble, while keeping the community safe and use of tax dollars down.

The probation department's community corrections program received a $64,747 grant from the state to pay for a full-time probation officer and case manager that will handle a mental health court case load. Two local agencies, Centerstone and Amethyst House, received state grants of $83,201 and $25,000, respectively, to provide services to people who will go through the court. An additional $11,799 pays for computer software programs that will help measure the project's outcomes.

The program is a partnership between several local offices and agencies, including the Monroe County Circuit Court, the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and Jail, the Monroe County Probation Department, the Monroe County Public Defender's Office, community mental health provider Centerstone, and addictions recovery program Amethyst House and Indiana University's traumatic brain injury services of the Speech and Hearing Sciences Department.

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