Republished with permission.
Adult Services Director, Lucas County Mental Health Board.
This is the sixth in a series of articles from the Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Mentally Ill in the Courts, chaired by Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton. This article highlights Lucas County's successful collaboration in improving mental health services available to mentally ill offenders.
In 1999, the Lucas County Mental Health Board assembled the Adult Forensic Task Force to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas of potential improvement of mental health services available to mentally ill offenders. The task force has studied all points of entry into the system to assure that immediate assessment was in place for offenders who might have mental health challenges. The task force has actively monitored the following areas on an ongoing basis:
* Linkage with appropriate community services;
* Uninterrupted treatment;
* Medication; and
* Hostpitalization when necessary.
This collaboration has produced extensive benefits to the system in terms of better integration of services and shared expertise related to the local population and the specific challenges and barriers consumers may face. As a result of task force activities, an excellent system of communication has emerged among the following organizations:
* State hospital;
* Common Pleas Court & Municipal Court;
* Forensic monitor at Lucas County Adult Probation ;
* Mental health agencies treating the clients; and
* Crisis services.
This article will provide an overview of programs that work together to provide seamless, high caliber services to consumers involved with the criminal justice system in Lucas County.
Forensic services are delivered to two categories of offenders among those with the most serious criminal involvement:
* those found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI); and
* those found Incompetent to Stand Trial/Unrestorable-held under the criminal court's jurisdiction for a first or second- degree felony.
Offenders with less severe circumstances include those who have some criminal justice experience coupled with mental health issues...