Okla. County Mental Health Court Receives 2004 Journal Record Innovator of the Year Award
Mitchell, Jessica, THE JOURNAL RECORD
The Oklahoma County Mental Health Court, the first such court in the region, is a recipient of a 2004 Journal Record Innovator of the Year award.
Launched in November 2002, the court is designed to divert defendants with serious mental illnesses from jail and prison into community-based treatment.
With 12 participants in 2003, court officials estimate it saved taxpayers about $150,000. Studies show that for each participant diverted from the jail and prison systems, $20,000 is saved per year. This represents both the amount saved from prison or jail expenditures for incarceration of a mentally ill person, as well as the alternative expenses associated with the court's monitoring of a participant's compliance with the prescribed treatment.
In 2004, the court plans to expand services to at least 25 participants for an anticipated savings to taxpayers of more than $350,000.
The court was established by a coalition of representatives of state agencies and the private sector, including District Judge Nancy Coats; Kelly Basey, assistant district attorney; Genie Baumann, assistant public defender; Bill Crye, Department of Probation and Parole; Kiedrian Fennell, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Edith King, forensic psychologist; Nancy Petree, Oklahoma chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill; and representatives with the Oklahoma City Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team. …