The Gulf Bend Community Collaborative in Victoria, Texas recently approached federal legislators for a $11.6 million four-year plan to divert people with mental illnesses from going to prison.
The collaborative’s plan calls for 14 mental health deputies, 12 mental health caseworkers and four supervisors to respond to mental health crises and build rapport with people with mental illnesses. They would be available 24/7 in a seven-county area. Their goal is to divert people with mental illnesses from receiving prison sentences, rather than receiving the mental wellness help they need.
The plan is targeted to people with mental illnesses who have been to court and been found “not guilty.” Currently the probation department supervises such individuals and meets with the defendant and a case manager from the local mental health authority. However, Gulf Bend Community Collaborative’s plan wishes to primarily address the underlying illness rather than punish them for a crime that might be a symptom of an untreated illness.
Read the full story here (via Victoria Advocate)
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