local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 public meetings

 previous edition

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Wednesday — February 25, 2004


A court that cares

People who are mentally ill have two strikes against them when they get up each morning. The first strike is evident.

The second strike is that without mental health insurance people who need help have few options, and few people have mental health insurance.

The third strike is that people with mental illness all too often wind up in the criminal court system, sometimes through a misguided attempt to self-medicate using illicit drugs.

What they really need is mental health care, not jail. Yet while courts commonly stipulate treatment for alcohol and drug offenders in hopes of rehabilitation, violators with mental health problems are commonly ignored.

Idaho is fortunate to have one of only a few mental health courts in the U.S. Seventh District Judge Brent Moss of Idaho Falls started his experimental court in 2002. By steering violators toward treatment, the court may save taxpayers money and alleviate a lot of human misery.

Moss is aware of the double bind confronting mentally ill people who cannot get mental health assistance without getting involved in the criminal justice system. He says, "I know of parents that have wanted to get help for their children. Right now, unless you violate the law, there’s not a long-term treatment plan."

Moss’ experiment is a small if significant first step in the right direction. The first two graduates of his court are currently employed and will soon have their fines paid, and, according to Moss, "They’re becoming productive citizens to an extent never before possible, and they’re just good people."

Thanks to Judge Moss. Other district judges would do well to follow suit.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.