HATTIESBURG, MS. - The city of Hattiesburg graduated 8 people from its Behavioral Health Court Program Thursday in Municipal Court.
The Hattiesburg Behavioral Health Court is a grant-funded program with US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program.
When the program was initiated in Hattiesburg, it was the first of its type in the state of Mississippi. Hattiesburg's Chief Administrative Officer Ann Jones said, “Mental health is a problem throughout the community."
She added, "A lot of the folks that come through the court system or enter through the criminal justice system have an underlying reason why a crime was committed or what have you.”
With Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources as the treatment partner and additional social service agencies, HBHC provides an opportunity for misdemeanor offenders who are suffering from a mental illness to complete program requirements set forth by the Municipal Court Judge Jerry Evans.
Upon completion of the program charges are dropped.