The Council of State Governments Justice Center — which coordinates the Criminal Justice / Mental Health Consensus Project — has been collecting stories about individuals whose lives have improved as a result of their involvement in a Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP)-funded grant program. This story is about a man enrolled in the Auglaize County (OH) Transition / Mental Health (ACT/MH) Program, the recipient of a 2010 JMHCP Planning and Implementation grant. We will publish one story a month (this is the first story published). If you would like to provide a story about a successful client in your JMHCP-funded program, please contact Stephanie Joson of the CSG Justice Center.
All names and other individually identifying details have been changed to preserve confidentiality.
Grant Program: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program
Grantee Type: Planning and Implementation
Grantee: Crittenden County
Program Name: Mental Health Court Program / Project Second Chance
42-year-old Christian was convinced an anarchist cult had planted bombs in his attic. He had a long history of mental illness, dating back to a psychiatric hospitalization as a teenager. His wife—with whom he lived, along with their three young children—was alarmed by his behavior and called the police. When the police decided to take him to the emergency room for a psychiatric review, Christian resisted; he kicked out the window of the squad car and dented the frame. At the hospital, he tested positive for amphetamines and marijuana. He admits that he regularly smoked pot and inhaled bath salts. “I’ve tried everything,” he said.
Christian was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal mischief and disturbing the peace. This wasn’t his first arrest; he’d previously been arrested for drug and firearm possession and had served five years of probation. After almost two months in jail, he chose to plead into Crittenden County’s Mental Health Court Program / Project Second Chance (MHCP / PSC) and received a six-month commitment (which was about twice as long as the jail sentence he would have had if he hadn’t pleaded into the program). He met the program’s criteria: past hospitalizations and incarcerations and a dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and amphetamine and cannabis abuse.