Newly Awarded Federal Grant Benefits Mental Health Court Clients


The Deschutes County Mental Health Department just received word that it has been awarded a significant Federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.


The $199,638 grant from the 2008 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program will allow the County to double the number of persons served by its existing Mental Health Court.


With the grant dollars, the current Mental Health Court enrollment of approximately 12 individuals per year is expected to increase to 25.


Deschutes County’s Mental Health Court is a collaboration between the criminal justice and mental health treatment system in the County.


The program is designed to enhance public safety by increasing accountability and access to services for non-violent offenders with mental illness. These offenders have committed a non-person misdemeanor and have demonstrated a willingness to participate in the program as an alternative to jail incarceration.


“Treatment in the community for those with a mental illness provides long-term public safety while helping the person overcome their disability. Mental Health Court strives to achieve this result,” said Deschutes County District Attorney Mike Dugan.


The project will build on a pilot Mental Health Court established in

2003 through a partnership between the Deschutes County Mental Health Department, District Attorney’s Office, and Circuit Court.


The existing program has the capacity to serve only a fraction of those in need.


In addition to expanding capacity with the additional dollars, the Mental Health Department also aims to increase the program’s participant graduation rate from 80 percent to 85 percent and to provide crisis intervention training to public safety and community organizations.


The program and the planned expansion are made possible through County and Federal funds as well as the support of the 11th Judicial District, the District Attorney, the defense bar and the work of Deschutes County Project Coordinator and Mental Health Specialist, Amber Clegg.


Information: the Deschutes County Mental Health Department at 541/322-7500.


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