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Program Aims to Help Offenders with Mental Health Issues

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A judge in Putnam County has proposed a program to help offenders with mental health issues stay out of jail.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Putnam Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers proposed the pretrial treatment diversion program at the Putnam County Commission meeting Tuesday.

The program would help offenders by deferring them out of jail and into mental health facilities or other programs. A panel would report to a mental health court at the end of the week and recommend which offenders should be deferred to mental health facilities.

Stowers says most offenders with treatable mental health issues are currently awaiting trial and cannot make bail to get out of jail.

The county has received a $115,000 grant to implement the program.

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