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Federal Funding of Mental Health Courts in Jeopardy

To date, neither the U.S. House of Representatives nor the U.S. Senate have appropriated money for fiscal year 2004 for the federal Mental Health Courts program. We have one more chance in the Senate to advocate for restoration of funding for this vital program.

ACTION NEEDED

Your advocacy is needed to restore funding for Mental Health Courts when the Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Appropriations bill is considered by the full Senate. This could occur as early as the week of September 29th. Please contact your Senators and ask their support for prompt action by the full Senate. You too can make a difference!

Please contact your two U.S. Senators and urge them to support full funding of $10 million for Mental Health Courts when the Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Appropriations bill comes up for vote on the floor.

All Senators can be reached by calling the Capitol Switchboard toll free at 1-800-839-5276 or at 202-224-3121

or online through www.congress.org

You can also contact them directly with our online advocacy tool.

Thank you for your advocacy!

TALKING POINTS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH COURTS

* There are today nearly 100 Mental Health Courts in existence around the country. These Courts are designed to link offenders with mental illnesses with treatment and supportive services in lieu of incarceration.

* Mental Health Courts have proven highly effective in reducing unnecessary incarceration of low level, non-violent offenders with mental illnesses whose involvement with criminal justice systems can be directly traced to lack of appropriate treatment and services.

* Mental Health Courts have a growing track record of success in facilitating good treatment outcomes and reducing recidivism among offenders with mental illnesses. These Courts are an effective crime reduction mechanism.

* Mental Health Courts have a broad base of support among law enforcement, corrections and court officials throughout the country. These systems are increasingly bearing the burden of having to respond to individuals with mental illnesses who do not have access to appropriate treatment and services.


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