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Baldwin ATCC Mental Health and Substance Abuse Court

Program Coordinator Amy Michaud

P.O. Box 1050

Milledgeville, GA 31059

P: (478) 445-2765
F: (478) 445-2622

Purpose

The purpose of the Baldwin County ATCC is to create both a court and community network that is more flexible to meeting the needs of adults with behavioral health conditions who are involved with the criminal justice system through coordinated judicial activities and integrated, evidence-based and culturally competent treatment and recovery support services.

This purpose was created based on the following statements:

1.     There has been a deterioration of mental and substance use services over the past decade which has led to a settlement agreement between the State of Georgia and the US
Department of Justice in 2010.

2.     Governor Deal signed into law, SB39 on May 4, 2011, a bill that moves forward the
formation of mental health courts. It allows the court to refer a case in which a
defendant suffers from mental illness or co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorder to the mental health court division. This has been in response to prison overcrowding, and the law opens new revenue streams to make mental health courts more affordable for communities. Additionally, the new law will allow mental health courts to receive funding from the state and federal governments, as well as private sources.

3.     Central State Hospital, Georgia’s largest bed Psychiatric Hospital, which was located in Baldwin County, closed its doors last year without notice or an increase of funding for services to be provided by the community. As a result, there has been a 4,700% increase in the number of individuals with severe mental illness in our ER each month. Incarcerations of persons with mental illness in our county jail have increased similarly. (Our per capita incidence of mental illness is much higher than the rest of Georgia.)

4.     Currently, 30% of the population incarcerated in the 316 bed Baldwin County Law
Enforcement Center is diagnosed with a mental health condition at incarceration. In
addition, 4 deputies have been assigned just for transport which is an additional cost of $160,000 per year. This is in response to the 120 transports that were made between January 1st and March 31st of 2011 due to the need of an individual for more acute hospitalization. The time for travel alone is 3 hours round trip.

5.     The ATCC continues to benefit the counties served by significantly decreasing the cost of incarceration of these individuals. If an individual were to serve 18 months incarcerated in the county facility it would cost the county $24,637.50/per person. The cost of the Drug Court Program per individual over that same period of time is less than $10,000 /per person, which is less than 1/2 of the cost. Of the 62 graduates, only one was a repeat offender far exceeding the statistics of recidivism of probation and parole.

6.     Over 90 percent of those who are served in the Baldwin County ATCC have a cooccurring mental health condition. Currently, they are served by the same organization
but in 2 disparate programs.

MISSION & GOALS

Mission


 The mission of the Baldwin County Adult Treatment Court Collaborative (ATCC) is to serve this community by addressing the problems of individuals who have substance abuse, mental health or co-occurring disorders and commit crimes against society. By eliminating a person’s desire to use drugs and alcohol and by stabilizing the symptoms of their mental illness, we reduce their likelihood of re-arrest or involvement in more serious offenses. This reduces recidivism rates and overall crime rates and gives all of us a safer community.

 

The benefits of this program are an increase in the safety and security of the shareholders of this community, a reduction in the population held in custody in the jails in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, and a reduction in the number of infants addicted to illegal drugs at birth. Our shareholders are the businesses, families, law enforcement, Courts, and law-abiding citizens in our communities.

 

Successful graduates of this program have taken positive steps to continue to address their
behavioral health problems, abstained from the use of all illegal or illicit substances for a
substantial length of time, and established a lifestyle consistent with that of a law-abiding
citizen. We believe that by providing treatment for offenders with behavioral health disorders, as opposed to imposing traditional sentencing options such probation and incarceration, our chances of successfully rehabilitating these offenders are greatly increased.

 


Goals


1.     Develop and implement sustainable processes, procedures and treatment options of a
Collaborative Treatment Program for individuals with substance abuse, mental health
and/or co-occurring disorders.


2.     Expand diversion and increase access to treatment options for adults with behavioral
health conditions who interface with the criminal justice system to include integrated
primary care, trauma-informed care, and other recovery supportive services.


3.     Improve public safety and the health of our community.


4.    Decrease the overuse of our community’s emergency rooms and local law enforcement
centers by individuals who have untreated behavioral health conditions.