New mental health program for convicted felons

Posted at 4:51 PM, Oct 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-26 17:54:12-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Kent County Sheriff office and Network 180 are joining forces with the court system to begin offering a new way to treat convicted felons who are struggling with mental illness.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners recently accepted a grant of $193,000 to create a new  mental health court program in Kent County. It will help convicted felons with severe mental illness to get the treatment they may need and to avoid jail time. The program will be able to take on as many as 45 clients at once, offering clinical support, program coordination, and legal defenses.

Experts say mental health is one of the biggest factors when it comes to repeat offenders. This program believes getting them the help they need could keep them from finding themselves back behind bars. In Kent County, they estimate about 10% of the jail population or as many as 100 people on any given day are dealing with severe mental illness.

This grant is meant to set convicted felons up for a healthier future. The programs will currently only be focused on adult felons and are to begin this December.