MARQUETTE, MI-- Marquette County’s Jail Diversion Project is now up and running.
Undersheriff Dan Willey says the program came about through a state grant to divert mentally ill people from the criminal justice system. He says officers are trying to catch possible candidates at first contact to determine if they need to go into the mental health system, instead.
“The people that would be eligible is somebody that has a mental illness or developmental disability who’s committed a relatively minor crime, isn’t drunk, isn’t high, isn’t violent or suicidal,” he says.
Willey says if a subject is a good candidate for diversion, he or she will be placed in specially constructed cells separate from the jail.
A Pathways Community Mental Health worker will then meet with them and try to connect them with appropriate services. Willey says the program is completely voluntary.
The new cells were unveiled last week.