Mental Health Court is a 24 month minimum, voluntary, pre or post-plea, judicially supervised, treatment-based program for those individuals with a documented mental health diagnosis.
The Cobb County Mental Health Court strives to improve mental health, promote self sufficiency, reduce recidivism, and offer cost effective alternatives to incarceration and hospitalization. A Mental Health Court represents an effort to increase effective cooperation between two systems that have traditionally not worked closely together - The Mental Health System and The Criminal Justice System. The program will hold participants accountable while assisting them in achieving long term stability, becoming successful family/community members, and remain law abiding citizens.
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What is Mental Illness?
A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.
Mentally ill offenders often spend unnecessary time in jail and, lacking access to mental health treatment services on release, often become repeat offenders and cycle through the justice system again. The presence of defendants with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system imposes substantial costs on that system and substantial harm on defendants.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to provide humane and just treatment to persons with mental illnesses in prisons and in jails.
How Do I Apply For Consideration?
To be accepted into the Mental Health Court program you must complete an application, which can be found on the District Attorney's website here. Submit the completed application to both the District Attorney's Accountability Court Prosecutor, and the Mental Health Court Coordinator.
Eligibility for the Progam
In order to be eligible, an applicant must:
- Be a Cobb County resident
- Have a documented severe mental health diagnosis
- Have a moderate to high risk of reoffending
- Be 17 years of age or older
- Possess no immigration holds
For any questions or concerns, please contact the Mental Health Court office.
Melanie Valentine, Mental Health Court Coordinator
(770) 528-8588 (Fax)
- "Cobb County's Mental Health Court An Alternative To Prison"
NPR News – PBS WABE 90.1 (Closer Look with Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer)
- "Cobb Mental Health Court to Hold First Graduation"
Fulton Daily Report
- "Cobb Mental Health Court hosts first graduation"
The Marietta Daily Journal