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Mental Health Pretrial Release


Mental health pretrial release was implemented by the Courts after analysis showed that mentally ill defendants were not qualifying for pretrial release for various reasons. When such defendants were placed on pretrial release, their circumstances presented a challenge to a pretrial staff that was ill equipped to address their mental health needs. The implementation of mental health pretrial release in Leon County has proven to be an effective vehicle for the court to monitor mentally ill defendants in the community while they await case disposition. This has been especially beneficial for mentally ill defendants that receive benefits through entitlement programs such as Medicaid and SSI. Historically, in Leon County if such a defendant is in custody for more than thirty (30) days, their benefits would be terminated and once released they would have to re-apply. This often resulted in loss of housing, transportation, medication, food supply, and utilities. When such defendants are placed on mental health pretrial release, not only do they not languish in the jail and potentially decompensate mentally, they also avoid having benefits terminated and upon case disposition hopefully have appropriate community supports in place to assist with any court sanctions imposed.

Grant funding allowed for initial implementation of this specialized pretrial program for mentally ill defendants and Leon County funding has allowed for its continuance.

The mental health pretrial release specialist is a mental health professional that not only helps to ensure adherence to court sanctions, but also assists the defendant in obtaining or maintaining stability in the community, through communication with service providers.

This program has consistently shown its ability to not only monitor mentally ill defendants released back into the community, but also to assist defendants in successfully getting to case disposition without re-offending. As a result, this program has avoided approximately 28,673 jail bed days for mentally ill defendants from 2008 2011.

Mental Health Pretrial Release Procedures / Misdemeanor Mental Health Procedures

  • Misdemeanor Mental Health Docket
  • Receiving Facility Protocols
  • Mental Health Pretrial Release
  • Mental Health Probation (County)
  • Misdemeanor Conditional Release

For assistance or questions regarding mental health pretrial release please call (850) 606-5700.