Mental Health Diversion
Mental Health Diversion
Mental Health Pre-Trial Diversion FAQ’s
1. What is the Mental Health Pre-Trial Diversion Program (MH PTD)?
This program is a collaborative between the Solicitor's Office, the Gwinnett County Detention Center, View Point Health, and Southeast Corrections that is designed to assist individuals who have a Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI) receive the treatment and linkage to resources they need in the community so that they can be productive, law abiding citizens while also addressing their pending legal charge(s) through diversion so as to avoid a criminal conviction for the charge(s ) . The goal is to improve quality of life, reduce recidivism, and improve the effective use of resources.
2. Who qualifies?
Individuals who have a verified primary SPMI diagnosis and a non-violent misdemeanor charge that is directly related to their diagnosis. Accepted SPMI diagnoses include : Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. These individuals must voluntarily consent to services and be deemed legally competent to do so. An individual who is referred but who reports, or is found to be, unwilling to take mental health medications and/or engage with recommended treatment services will be denied .
***Please note that individuals whose documentation shows a NOS (not otherwise specified), unspecified, provisional, or R/O (rule out) diagnosis will not be accepted nor will individuals with primary substance abuse, personality disorder, and/or developmental disability diagnosis.***
3. Who completes the referral and what must it include?
While a client or their loved ones can seek assistance for themselves it is recommended that the client's attorney on the case submit the referral. This is because all referrals must include the police report, documentation showing a verified SPMI diagnosis**, insurance information, and a signed Release of Information (ROI) form for the referral source. The client's attorney must contact the Solicitor's Office for the Assistant Solicitor-General assigned to the case to review the case and consent to a MHPTD assessment by View Point Health. Such consent must be provided to View Point Health in writing in order for the assessment to take place.
All referrals with supporting documentation should be emailed to Jamie Story, Program Manager, Mental Health and Veterans Community Courts for View Point Health (678-347-6287; Jamie.Story@VPHealth.org).
**Releases for SPMI documentation can be completed using a VPH ROI form with the “to/from ” sections indicating the medical facility records are being requested from. The completed form must then be sent by the attorney to the medical records department of that medical facility with a cover page indicating the records are to be faxed to Jamie Story at 678-212-6303. Doing so may avoid extra wait time as records change multiple hands and may avoid fees since the records are being sent provider to provider.
4. How does this benefit me?
If you enter and successfully complete the Mental Health Pre-Trial Diversion Program the Solicitor's Office will dismiss the charge(s) against you and you may be eligible to have the arrest record restricted. This means that your criminal history information will not be made available to any private persons or business but the information will still be available to judicial officials and criminal justice agencies.
5. How long is the program and how much does it cost?
The MH PTD program is a year in length. There may be a $95 fee for the initial assessment depending on if you have insurance that will cover the assessment or not. Once enrolled in MH PTD there may also be costs associated with probation fees, fines, and drug screens. It is highly recommended that you discuss these potential fines and fees as well as your ability to pay them with your attorney before the case is entered into MHPTD.
6. What are the requirements of the MH PTD program?
Defendants must first complete a Comprehensive Biopsychosocial Assessment with View Point Health Re-Entry staff in order to receive their individualized treatment plan PRIOR to entering a plea into the program. Treatment recommendations may include but are not limited to the following: regularly attending psychiatry appointments, medication compliance, individual and/or group therapy, substance abuse treatment, intensive day services, vocational training and/or placement, case management services, etc. This treatment will be provided by View Point Health OR by a private provider depending on each individual's insurance coverage and specific treatment needs. After the assessment is completed the treatment recommendations will be provided to the client's attorney and the Solicitor's Office to allow them to proceed forward with entering the plea so client can begin in the program.
7. Who monitors my progress in the program?
MH PTD participants are required to meet with probation monthly to provide documented proof that they are making and keeping all scheduled appointments as per their treatment plan, as well as following any other agreed upon conditions. These other special conditions may include status checks with the court, fines/fees, community service, and/or random drug screens. If the client is using a private provider, the client must use their private insurance. Additionally, the private provider must agree to release treatment information (including but not limited to progress notes) to fulfill the client's MHPTD requirements prior to the client's acceptance and entry into MHPTD.
8. What happens when I successfully complete?
The Solicitor's Office will submit an Order for Nolle Proseqi (dismissal) to the Judge and a copy will be mailed to you. If you posted a cash bond then it will be returned after you complete the program. If you hired a bonding company then you will need to refer to your contract with them to determine if you are eligible for a refund or not.
9. What happens if I don't complete the program or violate one of the conditions?
If you choose not to complete the MH PTD program or you violate a condition the Solicitor's Office may move forward with prosecuting your case and you may be subject to bond revocation. If so your new court date will be mailed to you. If you are convicted you can be punished for each offense by a fine up to $1,000 and face up to 12 months in jail. You may be placed on probation and be required to pay fines/restitution, complete treatment as recommended, perform community service, and/or complete other terms set forth by the Judge.
10. Who do I talk to about any questions or concerns I have?
a. Legal questions – Speak with your attorney
b. Treatment questions – Jamie Story (View Point Health) 678-347-6287
c. Probation questions – Matt Kramer (Southeast Corrections) 404-410-2555
d. Other services provided by View Point Health? Go to www.myviewpointhealth.org