Salaries Funded for Northeast Pennsylvania Mental Health Court
County officials said all three positions will be fully funded by three-year grants. The positions will be eliminated after three years if the county does not obtain new grants or demonstrate that the court had stopped repeat offenses by offenders with mental health disorders.
The court would help people who land in jail, often repeatedly, for petty crimes because they’re not receiving needed mental health treatment, according to Bill Anzalone, a county human services division employee who is overseeing the court’s creation.
Rather than doing prison time at taxpayers’ expense, nonviolent offenders who agree to participate would have the chance to erase the crime from their record by completing treatment and satisfying other conditions, such as obtaining a job and housing.
Participants would typically be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Offenses would have to be nonviolent misdemeanors, although felonies such as retail theft may be considered. All cases would have to be accepted by the District Attorney’s Office.
The county has received $584,000 in grants to fund the mental health court.