NYC starts new program for mentally ill defendants

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm •  Published: December 23, 2012
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Meanwhile, the city spends about three times as much supervising and caring for a seriously mentally ill inmate as it costs to house an inmate without psychiatric problems, officials said.

The new initiative will start next year and set out to work with 3,000 people annually, Bloomberg said.

Expert teams will assess the defendants' mental health needs, likelihood of showing up in court and potential for reoffending. The teams will make suggestions to judges about what psychological services and supervision are suitable.

Defendants deemed unlikely to skip court or to get rearrested will be recommended for release, with supervision and treatment, while their cases play out. Those who aren't expected to reoffend but are seen as likely to miss court dates could be placed in settings where they would get care.

Those considered likely to be rearrested and to skip court wouldn't be eligible for these alternatives.

The city, like some other jurisdictions around the country, already has what are known as mental health courts, which also focus on trying to get defendants into treatment. The city program would be oriented toward what happens to defendants while their cases are pending, while the mental health courts focus on the ultimate outcome of a case.

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