When I was an advanced-placement psychology teacher, I saw the need for major changes in the delivery system for those with mental health issues. In conversations with judges, prosecuting attorneys, law enforcement, etc., I've learned there is a definite need for a mental health court in Benton County.
A mental health court would be developed in response to people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system. The mental health court is a diversion program, and only selected defendants may participate (no felony or sex offender charges).
Not only does the mental health court deal with legal issues, but the mental health court team (court staff and mental health professionals) would help the individuals with all phases of their life, such as housing, counseling and medications.
There are currently nine counties in Washington that have a mental health court, and Benton County could be the 10th.
I realize that there are many people who have mental illnesses who do not have any problems with the law, but there still are many who would benefit from this process. Vote for the public safety tax. Part of the money will go to develop a mental health court.
GEORGE LEE, Kennewick