EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – For many people involved in the criminal justice system, mental health problems left untreated can lead to continued arrests and jail time. The Vanderburgh County Mental Health Court exists to help break that cycle for those offenders.

“In Vanderburgh County, Mental Health Court is not some new idea or some experiment. It’s been with us since 2013. Judge Shively oversees mental health court, and it’s a fantastic program,” says Vanderburgh County Sheriff Noah Robinson. 

Since its introduction, the Vanderburgh County Mental Health Court has led to hundreds of criminal offenders getting psychiatric help. Authorities say an offender must:

  • Be diagnosed with a qualifying condition
  • Not have committed a violent felony
  • Remain in compliance to be eligible.

“It’s a great way to deal with underlying mental health issues that are often co-mingled with criminality,” explains Robinson. 

Mental Health Court is a voluntary program that a person must work to get in based on the details of their case. This usually happens through their attorney, or pro-se (when a person represents themselves).

Walmart shooting suspect Ronald Mosely, Jr. was confirmed to have been in Mental Health Court earlier in the day before the shooting in the west side store.

“It’s impossible to predict, with any degree of accuracy or reliability, someone’s future behavior. And so all we can do is just do the best we can, make the best decision we can, with the information that we have,” says Robinson.

Authorities say prioritizing mental health care in these settings could help reduce the chances the person will reoffend.