Hattiesburg gets funding for a Mental Illness Court

By Ontario Richardson – bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg has received a grant to implement the state's first ever Mental Illness Court.

On Wednesday, police officers, judges, and employees from the City of Hattiesburg gathered for the first-ever mental illness and criminal justice seminar.  City Judge Vanessa Jones said about half of the people who are incarcerated have some form of mental illness.

"The people in their community know that they have a mental illness. The police officer knows that they have a mental illness and we have been somewhat handicapped in the past in dealing with them," said Jones. "And now we have the resources and the community involvement with Pine Belt Mental Health all these different organizations. We are getting together to address this issue and it is just good for the city of Hattiesburg," Jones said.

The court is expected to be up and running before the end of the year.

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