The court in Medina County, Ohio, will start a mental health docket in January to ensure that the mentally ill who are charged with low-level, nonviolent felonies receive treatment, reports the Akron Beacon Journal. The docket may involve no more than two dozen defendants a year. Judge James Kimbler says the goal is to stabilize them and keep them under supervision long enough to ensure some level of success. The crimes they are accused of occur most often when they stop taking their medication.
Chief Probation Officer Veronica Perry said her push for such a docket came about because defendants suffering from mental illness might not receive the treatment they need. Under the new plan, Alternative Paths (a treatment facility in Medina) will be contracted to provide services. The cost is expected to be $12,000 to $20,000 a year. “We make sure the defendant is a law-abiding citizen, but we don’t do clinical work, so that’s where we’ll be bridging the gap with a counselor, who will be making sure they are taking the right medication, helping them with housing applications and Social Security paperwork,” Perry said.