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Need for mental health court

CARROLL P. OSGOOD

Hollidaysburg

The Blair County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Prison Visiting Society thanks Commissioner Bruce Erb for his superb essay on county jails.

County jails across the country have become default placements for an increasing percentage of the chronically mentally ill since the country-wide closure of most of the large state-run hospitals over sixty years ago. Since these unfortunates are cognitively impaired in many ways their re-incarceration rate will remain very high, placing huge burdens on our dedicated, but over-extended police officers.

Mental health courts have worked well in other states and counties; we need one for Blair County. Grant monies are available to establish these courts but it is essential for young attorneys to step forward and get this ball rolling.

Judge Jolene Kopriva pioneered our successful county drug court and now enjoys a well-deserved retirement. Young attorneys should pioneer a Blair County mental health court.

Kudos to Commissioner Bruce Erb!

Carroll P. Osgood, M.D., submitted this letter on behalf of the Blair County Prison Visiting Society.

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