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Baltimore Circuit Court Is Launching Mental Health Docket

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BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore’s Circuit Court is launching a mental health case management docket.

The docket being launched next month will be the first of its kind in Maryland. Lower courts in the city and in Harford and Prince George’s counties have mental health programs, but this will be the only program in circuit court. More serious, and often more violent, crimes are tried in circuit court.

The three-year pilot will provide community-based treatment for about 30 defendants instead of incarceration or probation. Based on results in similar courts, the pilot is expected to lead to a 30 percent to 40 percent reduction in participants’ arrest rates.

The pilot is expected to cost about $120,000 annually and funds raised mostly through private grants will pay for a full-time clinician to manage the cases.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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