In March, 2014, a new law was signed that requires county law enforcement and community mental health service programs to work with courts and other organizations on taking steps to provide treatment and assistance to people with mental illness. The specific focus would be on people considered at risk of entering the criminal justice system, those not receiving needed mental health treatment in a county jail, and those not receiving services upon release or discharge from a county jail. There will also be a focus on people at risk of being committed to the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Lt. Governor Brian Calley, who chairs the Mental Health Diversion counsel, stated, “through treatment, we can help those with mental illness overcome underlying problems, which may reduce recidivism and help them to lead better lives. It’s a comprehensive form of smart justice that will make Michigan healthier and safer.”
Mentally ill offenders in the criminal justice system
According to some estimates as much as 50% of the prison population of the United States suffers from some form of mental illness. As a consequence, thousands of mentally ill offenders are sent to prisons that are poorly equipped to treat them. Nationwide changes are being made. In New York City, judges are instructed to consider a person’s mental health status and consider treatment. This was after it was determined that the mentally ill had cost New York City three times as much as other inmates. In Pennsylvania state prisons are introducing incentives for its mental health services contractor to reduce the number of infractions by mentally ill offenders. Colorado now prohibits prisons from placing inmates with major mental illnesses in solitary confinement. Michigan is expanding the state’s mental health court program.
Michigan criminal defense attorneys – compassionate and experienced
It is scary to be facing criminal charges; it is even more frightening when you also suffer from a mental illness. Do not let anxiety or depression interfere with protection of your rights in a criminal matter. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.
have decades of experience in handling criminal matters. They are also compassionate in dealing with people who suffer from mental illness. If you are accused of a felony or misdemeanor or charged with a crime and suffer from mental illness of any sort, you need someone on your side. We are ready, willing and able to protect you. If you have any questions, please contact us at (248) 263-6800
or complete a Request for Assistance Form
and one of our attorneys will contact you.