Drug courts are often established by counties to tackle issues, such as alcohol and opiate addiction. However, many legislators feel that there are not enough resources for offenders suffering from mental illness.
Champaign County in Illinois wants to be the first to actively find a solution to the issue, according to The News-Gazette. Judge Tom Difanis recently announced that the judiciary committee plans on taking steps toward establishing a rehabilitation court for mentally-ill lawbreakers after receiving little help from the state. Difanis notes that while the county does not keep a record of the number of offenders with mental health issues, he has seen the prevalence increase as of late.
The Mental Health Board, the Developmental Disabilities Board and the National Alliance on Mental Illness are all behind Difanis’ plan to develop a specialized court. However, the judge is still facing opposition and hesitation from members of his own judiciary committee.
More than 26 percent of Americans suffer from mental disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. A mental illness court may be able to provide individuals with the resources they need to manage their condition and become productive members of society.