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Orange County Commissioners Consider Diversion Program for Inmates with Mental Illness: It Might Help Them Get Life-Saving Treatment

Case workers would help inmates with mental illness get access to community resources. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

A support program for people with mental illnesses who are jailed on minor offenses might be coming to Orange County.

County commissioners will discuss a pilot program based on one that’s been used in Miami-Dade County for over a decade.

District 3 Commissioner Pete Clarke says the need is great for additional safety nets.

“We have beds but they’re so expensive. They just fill up so rapidly. One of the keys is to extend access to counseling. And meds if they need meds. But I think the foray into counseling could help a lot of people.”

Clarke says when inmates with mental health issues get the resources they need it improves their chances of a full recovery. The National Alliance on Mental Illness found only about 40 percent of people with a mental illness get the help they need.

If you'd like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.
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