KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Johnson County, Kansas, Board of County Commissioners accepted a grant Thursday from the U.S. Department of Justice to support development of a mental health court.
The county’s vision is to create a system that will “reduce the likelihood of people with severe mental illnesses returning to the criminal justice system” while increasing public safety, engagement with treatment, quality of life and effective use of resources.
Totaling $309,766, funds will be put toward staff training and education, travel and research, developing program assets and staff salaries.
“Having a Mental Health Court in Johnson County will build on our efforts to divert people who have been diagnosed with mental health and/or substance use disorders away from the criminal justice system and reduce their incarceration rates,” Tim DeWeese, Johnson County Mental Health Center director, said in a news release.
Following a year of planning, implementation of the court will begin.
Johnson County expects to serve 50 people in the program's first two active years.