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MENTAL HEALTH COURT

A SYSTEMS COLLABORATION

CRIMINALIZING 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 country.

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.

Admissions Criteria
  • Primary Axis I Diagnosis of Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder or Bipolar Disorder
  • Chart Bed Days for Hospitalization and Incarcerations per Year of MHC Graduates
  • Charged with a misdemeanor(s). Misdemeanors of the fourth degree will not be accepted unless the defendant has multiple offenses with a potential sentence of at least 90 days in jail.
  • Those charged with crimes of violence must have victim's consent to participate.
  • Defendant must agree to participate.
  • Defendant must acknowledge a willingness to take his/her medication.
  • Defendant does not have a current sex offense.
  • Defendant must have the ability to understand and comply with the requirements of the Mental Health Court as well as the consequences for failure to comply.
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    Contacts
    Judge Annalisa S. Williams 330-375-2007
    Tony Ingram, Chief Probation Officer & Program Manager 330-375-2007
    Penny Moore, Treatment Manager 330-253-9675
    Summit County ADM Board 330-762-3500
     
     

     

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    Revised: November 4, 2005