Judge Michael Stepka, who presides over the mental health court, said the aim is to address underlying problems. Mental health probationers typically suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or a developmental disability.
Jailing those who knowingly prey on society is an essential part of the judicial system; but keeping people from putting themselves and others at risk because of issues they can’t control is as important.
The courts deserve a lot of credit for giving individuals the chance to break the cycles of alcoholism, trauma or mental health problems that plague them. By comparison, putting people in jail is easy, helping them regain their lives is hard.
But it’s certainly worth it to them and the people who care for them.