Addressing the Lake County, Il., Board’s Law and Judicial Committee, county undersheriff Ray Rose described a pattern of recidivism that can form when an individual with mental-health issues ends up being arrested. “They go through this classification and recognition that there’s some treatment needed, and medication is given to them to stabilize them while they are in the jail,” he said. “Once they leave, we try to get them on affordable care and give them documentation and help them fill it out, but then they leave and if they don’t want to follow up on – or if they can’t follow up on it – then that’s where it drops off again.
“If we don’t make sure that treatment and that medication continues, that’s why this cycle keeps going around and around and around,” Rose added, saying “they’re really not criminals; they’re mental health patients. So how should we be counting them, and how should we be treating them? Those are the questions that we have to find solutions for.” Agencies from both the public and private sector are starting the Lake County Behavioral Health Treatment Court Collaborative. Funded by a four-year federal grant, the effort was described by Steve Fabbri, the county’s assistant director of adult probation services, as an attempt to recognize that “going through a county jail can be traumatizing” for someone with mental illness.