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Doña Ana County Magistrate Court launches pilot project to help arrested people get care for mental illness


LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- Court and county leaders have announced the competency diversion pilot project in the Doña Ana County Magistrate Court. Court officials say the initiative will focus on adults charged with misdemeanor offenses, like trespassing and petty theft, who have a history of mental illness and previously have been found incompetent to stand trial on criminal charges.

“The goal is to empower people to lead safer and more productive lives by connecting them to behavioral health treatment and community services for food, housing and other needs,” said Supreme Court Justice Briana H. Zamora. “Doing this promotes public safety by reducing rearrests and will lessen the strain on emergency rooms, courts and law enforcement who otherwise may repeatedly interact with the same individuals struggling with mental illnesses.”

The new court-based initiative will help guide people with severe mental illness to get appropriate treatment and stay away from the criminal justice system when they are arrested for misdemeanor offenses in Doña Ana County.

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Gabby Hernandez


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