THE MENTALLY ILL
One recent Justice
Department Study concluded that sixteen percent of inmates in Americas
state prisons are mentally ill.
This same study by the
Justice Department estimated that nearly half a million mentally ill
offenders were incarcerated nationwide.
For many years, the
mentally ill had been warehoused in state mental hospitals throughout the
In the 1980s the trend
toward deinstitutionalization of these individuals became a dominant one.
These mentally ill individuals began to move from the state run
hospitals to the community level. In
the 1990s we began to see a new trend in the crimininalization of the
mentally ill. Local and
county jails began to see large increases in the number of mentally ill
individuals being housed in their facilities.
The Justice Department began to look closely at this issue and in
one study concluded that sixteen percent of all inmates in our state
prisons were mentally ill.
The Akron Municipal Mental Health Court is the first of its kind in Ohio and one of a handful
in the United States. The Mental Health Court was formed, in part, as a response to the overwhelming numbers of mentally ill
offenders being seen by the Akron Municipal Court.
This program is a collaborative effort between the Summit County ADM Board, Community
Support Services, and the Akron Municipal Court. Residential treatment is provided by Oriana House, Inc. Sharp Program.
Defendants who enter the program must complete an intensive two year probationary period which
includes regular meetings with the judge and compliance with all mental health treatment related counseling requirements.
Judge Annalisa S. Williams (front center) and the Mental Health Court team.
Chief Probation Officer Ingram was
named City of Akron Employee of the Month of October, 2002, in part for his hard
work on behalf of the Mental Health Court.