The Diversion Treatment Court (DTC) began in May of 2001. The development of this
diversion court program was inspired through the knowledge that approximately 18-20%
of the jail population suffered from a serious mental illness. A group of four,
Former Chief Magistrate Winston P. Bethel, NAMI advocate Flo Giltman, Attorney Jim Sanders
and Psychiatrist Dr. Emile Risby met early in 1999 to initiate a collaborative effort
to decriminalize incarcerated defendants with serious mental illness.
The diversion treatment court program began in 2001 with no funding but with a
strong commitment from partners possessing the collective vision of the need to
decriminalize the mentally ill; to move defendants from jail into treatment.
Since May of 2001, over eight hundred (800) defendants have been reviewed for
inclusion in this program resulting in over two hundred and sixty three (263)
evaluations. In addition to those defendants reviewed, over one hundred and eleven
(111) defendants have graduated and subsequently had their criminal charges dismissed.
From January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2003, thirty-two (32) defendants have
graduated from the DTC. Currently twenty-three (23) defendants are actively
participating in this program. These twenty three persons include twenty (20)
misdemeanor cases, two (2) county ordinance cases and one (1) felony case.
The treatment program staff continues under the direction of the DTC evaluator,
Jane Piper and supported by two case managers, Chip Forte and Gracie Williams. We
are pleased to announce that Braddye Smith of pretrial services will be providing
case management services to those defendants who receive services outside the
Dekalb Community Service Board (DCSB) network and/or have private insurance.
We continue to have a monthly rotating schedule of our DTC judges: Judge Joyce
Averils, Judge Abbi Taylor Guest, Judge Joan Roach with the future addition of
two additional judges, Judge Bob Leitch and Judge Elliott Shoenthal.