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Kalamazoo's Mental Health Court could become a model for the rest of the state


KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- State Rep. Margaret O’Brien of Portage is supporting legislation that would take the success that Kalamazoo has experienced with its Mental Health Court and replicate it in every county in the state.

O’Brien says just like drug courts and alcohol courts, they divert minor offenders from filling up expensive jail cells into treatment programs where they can get the help they really need.

She says its a lot cheaper to treat them than to jail them. It’s the difference between ten-thousand for treatment and monitoring, compared to 35-thousand dollars for a year in a prison cell.

She says it will cost additional money up front to set up the courts, but in the long term will mean real savings, and much more positive outcomes.