mental health courts
The Mental Health Courts include the WIT (Whatever It Takes) Court, Recovery Court, Assisted Intervention Court and Opportunity Court. These programs focus on identifying and treating individuals with varying degrees of mental health issues that are the primary cause of non-violent criminal conduct and/or substance abuse. The Foundation provides participants with:
Supplemental mental health assessment and counseling
Emergency and interim housing
Restorative dental care
Eye exams and corrective lenses
Transportation vouchers and expense
Scholarships for community college courses or vocational training.
Tiffany J.’s journey began with “a hazy memory of being locked in a sweaty cell filled with arms drawn out, holding empty bowls of food amongst dehydrated women, sprawled out on the floor grasping for air.” Her “drug induced, imaginative mind” conjured up “images of us all, the other inmates and I, in something short of a charitable Sally Struthers’ commercial; starved, with flies swarming around our heads, standing in feces, with no one to hear our pleas, injustice upon us all.” When she met a public defender with a plea agreement to sign, she rose up “from the malaise of inmates and clung onto the gates of the cell with one arm and onto the cheap county pen with the other.” With that pen she signed “her rights away… agreed to probation… and was placed into Opportunity Court.
Almost 4 years later, Tiffany has been clean and sober for 3 years and 9 months, is working in recovery, is sponsoring two people with mental health and addiction issues and everything she has “accomplished today is largely due” to the Opportunity Court. That program that required her to regularly attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings, take her medications, make and keep her therapy appointments and cultivating an honest relationship with the Court team and herself. Tiffany learned early on that recovery “is not a perfect process”, that “nothing is perfect” and if the court had shown justice but not mercy, she “would not be up here today” at graduation.
Tiffany has “built a life beyond her wildest dreams” and she continues to go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings to maintaining close contact with others who may be struggling so she can be of service. Her “long term future plans are to adopt siblings, get married and buy a house” but is sponsoring two individuals and never feels better than when she is able to convince an addict to enter detox and start down the road she just travelled.