Mental health court provides alternative: judge
The Mental Health Court judge in Seattle says B.C. should follow the U.S. city's lead and establish a similar court in Vancouver.
Judge Mark Chow says Attorney General Geoff Plant need only look south across the border to see that the court works.
The King County Mental Health court established in 1999, was one of the first mental health courts established in the U.S.
About 600 people will appear before Judge Chow this year people who repeatedly break the law because of mental illness.
Chow, who is the court's lone judge, says it's his job to keep people out of prison, and direct them to mental health services.
Of the people who have gone through court ordered treatment, the mental health court claims nine out of 10 are less likely to re-offend.
Attorney General Geoff Plant has said he's interested in a similar court in B.C. because it puts people into treatment and saves money by avoiding jail terms.