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State awards new grant for arrestees’ mental health evaluations

Programs for people deemed unfit for trial in area courts will see a $1.5 million boost in funding throughout the next three years, thanks to a grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology will operate a Fitness Restoration Program for people deemed unfit to stand trial by the Cook County Criminal Courts and other surrounding court systems, according to a statement from TCSPP. The program is part of a three-year contract with IDHS that lasts until 2017.

“The Fitness Restoration Program will include specialized evaluations, psychiatric, mental health, and substance abuse treatment services, in addition to fitness restoration psycho-education interventions for those individuals found [unfit to stand trial] and can function on an outpatient basis,” Dr. Darlene Perry, the Forensic Center’s executive director, said in the statement.

The program is intended to serve as a model for future programs across the state to cut down on unnecessary admissions to state mental health hospitals and reduce the state’s waiting list, according to the statement. IDHS hospitals currently have an inpatient capacity of 670 for people referred by courts.