Brian Peteritas is a GOVERNING contributor.E-mail: email@example.com
Searching for a way to better treat emotionally disturbed or severly mentally ill persons who commit minor offenses, Tennessee has passed a new law that allows judges to order assisted outpatient therapy instead of confining them to psychiatric wards or jail cells. Passed on July 1st the bill creates a two-year pilot program at the McNabb Center in Knoxville, Tenn., before it is rolled out statewide, according to Knox News. To fund the project the state will pay the center $125,000 per year to provide treatment to any persons who are sentenced to the outpatient therapy during that time. A committee has been formed by the local district attorney and sheriff to identify cases that would be appropriate first uses of the new option.