To the Editor:
I would like to thank the Daily Chronicle for the recent series on mental health issues in DeKalb County, and for your editorial calling for more to be done. As the State's Attorney and a member of the DeKalb County Treatment Court Team, I welcome your support for our Mental Health Court Program.
However, this is not a 'proposed solution', which should be further studied. The DeKalb County Mental Health Court is a reality, which will be implemented and in full operation in the next few months.
After nearly two years of study, our Mental Health Court proposal was approved for state funding through Redeploy Illinois last fall. Had a state budget been in effect these funds would already have been disbursed and this program would now have been in operation for several months.
We know mental health courts work, at a fraction the cost of incarceration because this has been proven around the country.
It will save this county money by treating people outside our jail, rather than inside. The cost of a counselor and a case manager will be paid primarily through Redeploy Illinois, administered through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Redeploy funding is offered, and continued, for useful evidenced-based programs, which divert non-violent offenders who would otherwise be prison bound. It incentivizes local governments to implement programs that save money both at the state and local levels, and provide better outcomes for all concerned.
I look forward to the day when budgetary issues in Springfield are resolved, and funds will finally be made available, as promised, to begin this new and worthwhile addition to our DeKalb County Treatment Court.
Richard H. Schmack
DeKalb County State's Attorney