by David Van Risseghem - Editor.
So far, the best Democrat legislation I've seen, this session. Rep Collin Walke is calling for the implementation of the Mental Health Courts in all 77 Counties. Currently, this judicial option is only accessible for the district court judges in a small number of counties. It's part of the reason why so many nonviolent mentally ill people are still in the criminal court system and dying in our jails. This bill (HB2934) gives unstable people with a history of serious mental illness an option for probation which includes mandatory treatment via mental health professionals and available treatments. The vulnerable ill people can have some measure of regained justice, compassion, and restoration to productive life by our legislators seeing illness as what it is, and rescuing the ill person from the grasp of the acute condition.
The courts have a duty to keep the communities safe, but this measure is only for those ill persons not charged with any violent crimes. Law enforcement & prosecutors repeatedly confirm to me that most often the seriously mentally ill are arrested on the pretext of some flimsy narrative. The truth is that the cop doesn't want to see a psychotic person left on the streets or in the homes of children. So cops try to make the jail become the mental hospital which the patient needs.
I may be missing something in the weeds of this bill. And yes, the state does need to fund this money, because they've largely abandoned the mentally ill and left the counties to just lock them up.
I'm very open to hearing any amendments to this bill. But it's time for the Republicans to join this Democrat from Oklahoma City who finally decided to show some leadership in the matter.
A study of legislation being pondered at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
How a law is made..