Sarasota judge's initiative aimed at keeping mentally ill out of jail

  • 0

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Considered a herculean effort by law enforcement, local judges and government -- Judge Erika Quartermaine's comprehensive treatment jail diversion program is now in full effect.

"We've had a lot of success and the cases are moving very quickly."

As of March 1st, thirteen participants have been enrolled in the program with more on the way. Most of the people who are eligible are mentally ill, and would otherwise be sent to county jail, said Quartermaine.

"Within a day of the order being entered, those folks are being released and taken to an appropriate residential purposes and treatment."

Centerstone Behavioral Health Services screens candidates to make sure they fit the criteria.

Once a mental illness has been established, assisted living is the next step.

"By putting people into what we call permanent supportive housing, not just housing, but supportive housing, we're seeing tremendous success," said CEO of Community Assisted and Supported Living,