Arlington Close on Court Program to Address Mental Illness - NBC4 Washington

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Arlington Close on Court Program to Address Mental Illness

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    A Virginia county is close to starting a specialized court program to address mental illness.

    But The Washington Post reports that advocates say they were shut out of developing the plan, which they say is moving too fast and would help too few.

    Naomi Verdugo, a leader with the Arlington Mental Health and Disability Alliance, says advocates were caught off guard in June when they found out Arlington County was close to finalizing plans for a docket to divert some mentally ill offenders out of the regular court system.

    Participants could avoid the possibility of a jail sentence if they commit to a treatment plan and to regular court and clinical appearances.

    A plan is expected to be sent to the Virginia Supreme Court for approval this fall.

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