Moultrie Observer

Local News

May 21, 2012

Local committee launches effort to establish mental/drug court

MOULTRIE — Colquitt County is one of nine areas of the state that will receive some of the $10 million which Gov. Nathan Deal has targeted for justice system reform. And here, it will likely go to help establish a mental/drug court.

John Zoller, accountability court coordinator with the Administrative Office of the Courts in Atlanta, met recently with the Healthy Colquitt Coalition’s mental health committee to discuss this approach and to outline what the committee would have to do to get this ball rolling.

The idea of an “accountability court’ has been discussed for several months as the mental health committee examines the community’s needs in this venue, following the closing of the mental health center here more than two years ago.

“We know that they (addicts) are not getting better in prison,” said Zoller.

Several weeks ago, the committee heard from Judge Steve Goss of Dougherty County who has administered an accountability court there for several years.

He said it takes about $250,000 a year to maintain that court in Dougherty. That does not include prescribed treatment as part of the adjudication process.

Goss said mental health issues and drug issues are often linked. Much of the time these problems mesh because of mental health patients trying to medicate themselves.

Accountability courts are not new, but data is just now becoming available to measure their effectiveness and to decide how best to organize and manage them. The whole idea of these courts is to treat the cases somewhat out of the regular criminal venue, but still to hold those brought before that court accountable for their actions while prescribing treatment.

Some communities just target one area like drugs or mental health. The local committee has decided that it will pursue a joint concept of mental health and drug courts.

On the closing of the mental health facility here, Zoller noted that it has not saved anyone any money.

“If you don’t believe it, ask the sheriff ... ask the hospital,” he said.

In Colquitt County, those people requiring mental health medications and counseling now have to seek them at centers in Thomasville or Pelham.

It was noted recently that Colquitt County was not contributing any local funds to the mental health center here which was run by the Georgia Pines agency via state funding. Those centers that did not close were those in communities that did share in the costs, said Lynn Wilson, co-chair of the committee.

In Thomas County, the community contributes about $43,000 annually to the center.

Ben Marion, director of Turning Point here in Moultrie and committee co-chair, said an announcement will be coming soon about an agreement between Colquitt Regional Medical Center, Turning Point and Georgia Pines to restore much of the mental health services to the community.

A mental /drug court here would deal with medium to high risks addicts in terms of the drug aspect of this concept. Long term programs, often lasting 18 months, would be set up for those subjected to this court.

Zoller said it is not perceived as an easy way out because of the criteria for completing the program. He said he’s seen instances where some people have  opted to do straight jail time as opposed to this treatment. Whether this would even be an option locally will be addressed as the project develops.

The next step for the committee will be to form a core team which would include a judge, prosecutor, defense lawyers as well as probation and treatment personnel.

At this point, it is not known how funds will be divided among those jurisdictions picked to receive them.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • County hires Cannon

    April 22, 2014

  • Woman: Man retaliated over drug issue

    April 22, 2014

  • Your Agenda 4/23

    April 22, 2014

  • 0422 Chambliss7.jpg 4-H honors Chambliss as Champion of Kids

    The National 4-H Council recognized Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., with the 4-H Champion for Kids Award recently during a 4-H Congressional Breakfast on Capitol Hill. Chambliss received the award in honor of his work advancing 4-H youth development in Georgia.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Georgia releases 2 years of school scores

    New data on Georgia’s schools suggests the state’s elementary and middle schools have improved during the last two years. But high schools haven’t made the same gains statewide.

    April 21, 2014

  • NAMIWalks information session next week

    The Moultrie chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness will hold an information meeting Tuesday, April 29, to get ready for this year’s NAMIWalks.

    April 21, 2014

  • Handel, Karen.jpg Handel relies on past successes as she runs for Senate

    Eleven people want to be Georgia’s next U.S. Senator. Karen Handel, who visited Moultrie recently, is one of seven Republicans in the race, which voters will cast ballots on May 20. How does one stand out in such a crowded field?
    Handel is focusing on her prior successes on the Fulton County Commission and as Georgia’s secretary of state.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman suspects guests when electronics disappear

    A Moultrie woman who has had electronics stolen on two recent occasions when she had neighbors over may want to find different dinner guests.

    April 21, 2014

  • 0422 Relay for Life.jpg Relay for Life set for Friday

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Health officials to focus on disaster readiness

    On April 30, Southwest Health District’s Office of All Hazards Preparedness will join other disaster preparedness, response and recovery teams throughout the nation to raise community awareness about the importance of individuals and organizations taking simple, specific steps to increase their preparedness for potential emergencies.

    April 21, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
More
weatherradar
Seasonal Content
Poll

Should abortion be legal for victims of rape?

No. That baby is alive, no matter how horrible its manner of conception.
Yes. It's wrong to force a woman to carry the child of her rapist.
Abortion is a private matter and should be legal for everyone.
     View Results