Forsyth County, Georgia – On Sept. 23, 2019, the United States Department of Justice awarded Forsyth County a grant in the amount of $400,000 through its Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP). The county’s match for the grant is $100,000.

The purpose of the grant is to:

– Reduce the number of people booked into jails who have mental illnesses – Shorten the length of stay in jails for people who have mental illnesses – Increase availability of treatment for people who have mental illnesses – Reduce recidivism rates for people who have mental illnesses

“Our jails have become at times a ‘holding shed’ for people with true mental health issues,” said Forsyth County Board of Commissioners Vice Chairman and District Four Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills.

“This grant, which was achieved through a collaborative effort over a number of years, will give us an opportunity to hopefully recognize the problem and start the treatment for the underlying problem properly so the re-occurrence will be reduced significantly in the future.”

To best utilize the funds, the Forsyth County Finance Department and Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office are establishing a planning team comprised of county leaders, stakeholders and decision makers from multiple departments and agencies.

“While this grant can likely divert individuals with mental illness who have committed minor crimes and help those arrested to obtain services to avoid further arrests, it is equally important to note the Sheriff’s Office will not divert any criminal offense that endangers our community or results in any significant crime” said Sheriff Ron Freeman.