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City receives federal funding for mental health courts

City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen announced today that the City of Kansas City, Mo., was one of 10 communities in the nation to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Justice through a program for local mental health courts. The grant will provide nearly $200,000 over two years to train court personnel, add legal services and increase staffing.

“We are proud of this partnership and the work City staff did to secure the grant,” Cauthen said. “Providing treatment rather than jail is often the more productive approach for the mentally ill, and this will allow the City to provide more comprehensive service.”

The City’s Community Justice Division of the City Manager’s Office secured the grant, and will work in partnership with the Jackson County Mental Health Levee to oversee the mental health court expansion and enhancements.

Mental health courts divert non-violent, low-level offenders out of the criminal justice system and into mental health treatment under close supervision of judges and mental health workers.

Marsha Campbell, chairwoman of the Jackson County Community Mental Health Levee, said the mental health courts have a proven track record and will be able to grow with the new funding.

“The success rate of the mental health courts is phenomenal,” Campbell said. “More than four out of five mental health court graduates stay out of the justice system. That means local resources can be better spent on those who threaten public safety.”

Judge John B. Williams, who has presided over the City’s mental health court for the past six years, said the expansion of services will have a positive impact on the community.

“It is a great opportunity to build on our successes,” Williams said. “This is something that should benefit those who need these services and help ease the burden from other areas of the corrections system.”

For more information, contact Tracie McClendon-Cole, Justice Program coordinator at (816) 513-7902.

City News Releases - 2008

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