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Georgia State University College of Law
Wendy Cromwell
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(404) 413-9050

 

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"Offering Mental Health Treatment to Criminal Offenders Instead of Jail" presented by DeKalb County Chief Magistrate Judge Winston Bethel

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


"Offering Mental Health Treatment to Criminal Offenders Instead of Jail"

The Honorable Winston P. Bethel
Chief Magistrate
Magistrate Court of DeKalb County

11:45am Lunch available
12:00-1:00pm Lecture and Discussion

Georgia State University College of Law – Room 170
140 Decatur Street, Atlanta, GA 30303
(located at the corner of Decatur Street and Piedmont Avenue)

This event is free and open to the public. parking is available in deck m on Piedmont Avenue two blocks north of the College of Law. Click here for directions.

"Offering Mental Health Treatment to Criminal Offenders Instead of Jail"

The Honorable Winston P. Bethel, Chief Magistrate of Dekalb County, discusses his work establishing the DeKalb Diversion Treatment Court (formerly called the DeKalb Mental Health Court) to provide mentally ill offenders with recovery instead of incarceration. Judge Bethel established the treatment court in 2001 to incorporate Therapeutic Jurisprudence (TJ) into the court system in Georgia. A goal of TJ is to treat the disorders causing offenders to commit crimes instead of simply incarcerating them.

With the de-institutionalization of the mentally ill beginning in the 1960s, jails and prisons have become the repository for people who are mentally ill. Judge Bethel’s program works for the benefit of mentally ill offenders by offering a voluntary program where, if the offenders complete the treatment program, their charges are dropped. If the participants leave the program, however, their criminal cases are reactivated. The goal of the treatment court is to empower individuals to function on their own.

The Honorable Winston P. Bethel, J.D., LL.M., has worked with the Magistrate Court of DeKalb County since 1985, beginning as a part-time magistrate judge and then becoming a full-time magistrate judge in 1996. He has served as the Chief Magistrate for DeKalb County since 1998 and founded the DeKalb Mental Health Court (now called the Dekalb Diversion Treatment Court) in 2001. In 2006 he was the recipient of the Debra J. Blum Mental Health Advocate of the Year award presented by the Office of the Mental Health Advocate. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in sociology at the University of West Georgia in Carrolton, prompted by his work with the diversion treatment court.

Audio recording of this event

Contact :

Jerri Nims Rooker
404.413.9088

E-mail:

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Category : Center for Law, Health & Society