State Court Administrator Milton L. Mack, Jr., has been asked to co-chair a national initiative to improve the justice system response to mental illness.
A former Chief Judge of the Wayne County Probate Court, Mack has long been an advocate for mental health reform, promoting early intervention and treatment instead of incarceration. Funded by the State Justice Institute (SJI), the initiative is based on a policy paper by Mack that was published by the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA).
“We know how to solve the problem – treatment not jail. The challenge is coordinating all levels of government to implement the solution,” said State Court Administrator Milton L. Mack, Jr. “Creating a more sensible path to mental health treatment will improve quality of life for people with mental illness, reduce homelessness, and save lives.”
Judge Mack noted several key statistics:
The SJI grant will facilitate efforts by the National Center for State Courts to work with the Conference of Chief Justices and COSCA in addressing these key areas:
Mack further explained that a better approach involves implementing an “outpatient model” of care so the persons with severe mental illness can regain control of their lives. This model requires early intervention at key stages, including training for law enforcement, and screening to divert individuals to treatment rather than jail.