According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, almost 15% of men and 30% of women in our country's jail population have a severe mental illness. Without Court intervention, many of these men and women will spend months in jails and/or hospitals, often without meaningful treatment of any kind, only to be ultimately released and to "reoffend," starting the cycle all over again.
Accountability Courts like the DeKalb Misdemeanor Mental Health Court have proven to help individuals with these illnesses exit and stay out of the criminal justice system by connecting them to valuable resources. When the individuals we help come to understand their challenges and thrive in their empowerment, they permanently leave the criminal justice system. Even Crisis Intervention Trained officers must spend considerably more time when addressing an incident which involves mental illness, incidents that are very often nonviolent in their nature. Reducing these incidents frees up our law enforcement officers to fight violent criminals and better protect our communities.
DeKalb Criminal Justice Treatment Coalition's work helps bring men and women whose lives might otherwise have been wasted to realize their amazing potential as citizens of Georgia and to pay their experience forward to others who face mental health challenges. The programs supported by DCJCT ultimately foster change beyond the court system, as empowered participants put their restored lives to work all over our State.
With the support of DCJTC, DeKalb Misdemeanor Mental Health Court offers access to a comprehensive treatment team for participants, including psychiatric and psychotherapeutic counseling, medication management, if necessary, and education on each participant's respective psychosocial challenges. This is not simple monitoring of a criminal defendant; the treatment team involved with DeKalb's MMHC seeks to empower their participants to achieve their maximum potential in our communities.
Unlike traditional criminal Courts, DeKalb Misdemeanor Mental Health Court, with the help of DCJTC, provides a continuous structure of accountability, support, and encouragement to its participants living with mental illness. The men and women who participate in DeKalb MMHC are not reduced to case numbers, and in many cases the structure helps to stem a participant's likelihood of graduating to more serious felony charges by addressing the challenges early. In many cases, successful participants avoid damaging criminal convictions.
DCJTC's work with DeKalb's Misdemeanor Mental Health Court goes beyond simply helping to treat an individual's illness. We aim to tap into that person's full potential, with the Court assisting participant's pursue vocational and educational goals. Because DCJTC recognizes that treating mental illness is not about a person's mere subsistence. Rather, we see the minds we help to support as limitless in their potential to work, teach and contribute; an inevitable boon to our Georgia communities.
Your support and contributions will help to improve the lives of the men and women to whom our funding is sent and to improve our communities on the whole.