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Partnership adds mental health services to Big Bend criminal justice system

Posted at 5:33 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 17:33:43-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A new partnership between the Apalachee Center, the state attorney's office, courts, and the Leon County Sheriff's Office is adding a mental health component to going through the criminal justice system.

The FIRST Team gives adults with mental illness a mental health expert through every stage of the criminal justice process: pending proceedings, incarceration, mental health pre-trial release, and mental health probation or conditional release.

Dr. Jay Reeve, the CEO of the Apalachee Center says many of the repeat offenders are people dealing with mental issues but have no means of getting help or treatment.

"If these same folks engaged in treatment have the right kinds of therapy, the right kinds of medicine, it can bring them out of the criminal justice system entirely and keep them living in the community," said Reeve.

The FIRST Team will also open a day to day clinic for mental health needs next month.