City Starts New Program for Mentally Ill Defendants

Bloomberg says the effort will start next year and set out to work with 3,000 people annually

Sunday, Dec 23, 2012  |  Updated 1:24 PM EDT
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City Starts New Program for Mentally Ill Defendants

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New York City is making a new effort to channel mentally ill people who get arrested into treatment instead of jail, if they don't need to be there.
 
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the initiative on his weekly radio show Sunday.

  Bloomberg says the effort will start next year and set out to work with 3,000 people annually.
 
Expert teams will assess the defendants' mental health needs, likelihood of showing up in court and potential for re-offending. The teams will make recommendations to judges about what psychological services and supervision are appropriate.
 
Some special mental-health-focused courts around the city have similar aims.
 
City officials say the mentally ill often can't post bail and so generally end up in jail twice as long as other inmates facing similar charges.

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