Mentally Ill Falling through the Cracks in Nevada

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In 2013, the Assisted Outpatient Treatment program was established to aid mentally ill offenders that are historically non-compliant with treatment. It had wide support and it was hoped it would help those who routinely failed to keep up with their treatments and ultimately ended up in court again and again.

Christy Craig, a Deputy Public Defender, attempted to have Destiny Brown, aged 23, admitted to AOT in February but she was denied admittance on the grounds of her difficulty in being managed and was instead released without any ordered supervision. Craig maintains that is exactly the kind case the program was designed to handle and District Court Judge Linda Bell agrees.

Brown is currently once again in jail with three charges of battery against her and Craig and Bell, who runs a special court aimed at mental health issues, both feel Brown should be entered into the program but the Attorney General’s office feels admittance to the program lies outside the jurisdiction of Bell’s court. They maintain that the program was intended to only handle cases originating in the Family Court.

Bell decided Brown should undergo evaluation by doctors as a preliminary step towards admittance into the program. The Attorney General’s council asked for a stay to pursue the jurisdictional issue which was denied. No appeals of that decision have yet been filed.

With many other cases being handled similarly, Bell indicated her feelings that the state’s position may be an attempt to fill the program only with subjects that have been deemed complaint in an attempt to prove the effectiveness of the program.