New pilot program aims to keep those with mental illness out of jail

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Thursday, the city announced a new pilot program that aims to keep people with mental illness from ending up in jail.

It’s an outpatient treatment program set up by the city and District Court.

It allows a family member to apply for a court order requiring patients to undergo supervised treatment. If granted, the patients will be monitored for up to a year, reducing trips to the emergency room or jail.

“It takes tragedy sometimes to make people realize what a great need there is. In this case, in 2014 it was the tragic death of James Boyd in the Sandia Foothills that rallied attention to the fact that this is so desperately needed,” said Brain Stettin with Treatment Advocacy Center.

Officials say treatment often includes help with medication and therapy.

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