Atlantic County Prosecutor Supports Mental Health Court In NJ
In a wide-ranging interview with Atlantic County Prosecutor Will Reynolds, we have confirmed that he supports the creation of a State of New Jersey Mental Health Court.
In addition to this exclusive interview, Reynolds has agreed to appear on the NJ Spotlight News on the NJ PBS television program to discuss the matter.
We have also confirmed that the Atlantic County, District 2 legislative team of New Jersey Senator Vince Polistina and Assemblypersons Don Guardian and Claire Swift enthusiastically support the establishment of a New Jersey Mental Health Court.
We will file a separate report about Polistina’s direct role in pursuing a first-ever New Jersey Mental Health Court, as one does not presently exist in the state of New Jersey.
“After serving as a municipal prosecutor for 10 years and now being in this position for 90 plus days, I can see it is absolutely 100% needed. Our team of talented and dedicated assistant prosecutors and first responders have communicated that's more than 60% of our cases have a mental health aspect,” said Reynolds.
We have always believed that those who are legitimately dealing with mental health challenges should not be presented in open court, as if there are no potential mitigating circumstances present.
“A mental health court will connect people to effective treatment and ongoing support and case management after they are properly screened and assessed. Most of these people do not have any access to care at present,” said Reynolds.
Since becoming the Atlantic County Prosecutor, Reynolds has been aggressively going after the bad guys. However, he is showing appropriate compassion when it comes to those dealing with mental health issues.
“We as leaders of the criminal justice system must acknowledge this blind spot. We need to empathize with the parties and understand the situation and use our common sense to create a solution. The homeless and at risk population need help not incarceration. We
need to treat them with dignity and respect and kindness,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds is encouraged by all of the key working partners who are rallying behind this effort.
”We have so many stakeholders in Atlantic County that are working to help. Sheriff Scheffler of Hope one, Lori Herndon of Atlantic Care, Jewish Family Services, the
Casino At risk initiative, the Atlantic City Police Department and our organization the Atlantic County Prosecutors office,” said Reynolds.
Additionally, Reynolds said that “this has bipartisan support from LD2 legislators Polistina, Swift and Guardian as well as national support from Amy and Patrick Kennedy.”
“I am so humbled and grateful to be part of a team of caring professionals seeking help for our most vulnerable,” said Reynolds.
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