City To Expand Mental Health Court Program

Nov 26, 2008

Kansas City, MO – Services at the city's mental health court will soon be expanding. Kansas City is one of ten places in the nation to recently receive a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.

The court currently redirects non-violent, low level offenders into treatment programs under the supervision of judges and mental health workers. There's a total of three mental health courts in Jackson County. Judge John B. Williams has presided over the Kansas City one since it started six years ago and says it's shown a lot of success in diverting people from the criminal justice system.

Williams: "85% of the people that successfully complete the program have not picked up another charge one year after successful completion of the program. That's really good."

Judge Williams says there are about 300 people currently enrolled in programs throughout Jackson county. The new grant will increase the court's legal aid staffing and provide additional training and monitoring.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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