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Local Judge Hopes Mental Health Issues Get State's Attention In 2017

Georgia’s 30th district state senator Mike Dugan recently told WLBB Radio that he expects mental health reform will be a major issue during the upcoming legislative session.
 
Many suffering untreated mental health issues find themselves in the state’s jails for crimes created by their issues, and Dugan says “Jail is not where they need to be.”
 
Carroll County Probate Judge Betty Cason heads up the Carroll County branch of NAMI (National Alliance On Mental Illness), and she agrees with Dugan.
 
“This is an issue that affects everybody. It affects our economy. It affects our community, the quality of life,” Cason told WLBB Radio. “People are suffering from mental illness and there are some services available, its just harder to get people connected up to those services. I hope legislators work towards bringing them all together under one roof.”
 
A mental health court planned for Carroll County could help keep many of those with mental health issues out of the jails and place them into programs that will help them.
 
“Jail is not a place for people with mental illness… and most of the what I would call non-violent crimes… like your criminal trespass or loitering… if people were not suffering from mental illness, many of those arrests might not happen,” Cason said. “We are in the process of getting a mental health court for Carroll County for some of these people in jail who need mental health services. That will help tremendously.”