Bartholomew County seeking mental health problem-solving court

The Bartholomew County court system is planning a fourth problem solving court, this time aimed at those suffering with mental health problems.

Bartholomew County Superior Court 1 Judge James Worton has filed a letter of intent with the Indiana Office of Court Services, saying that he hopes to have the specialized Court up and running by July.

Worton, who presides over all mental health commitments in Bartholomew County, said, that the regular justice system “is simply not equipped to adequately deal with defendants suffering with severe mental illness.” The said the courts need more tools to increase safety for citizens and to ensure mentally ill defendants receive the accountability, treatment and supervision they need so that they can live their lives outside of the justice system.

The county already has three problem solving courts, with Worton presiding over the Veteran’s Treatment Court, Judge Kelly Benjamin over the Drug Recovery Court and Magistrate Brittney Newland over the Family Recovery Court.

Problem solving courts partner with mental health providers, substance abuse treatment providers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation, and other relevant agencies to handle certain cases involving qualified criminal defendants charged with certain lower level crimes.