State officials meet to announce Ky. Judicial Commission on Mental Health
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Top state officials met in Frankfort Thursday to announce the Kentucky Judicial Commission on Mental Health.
It will be composed of judicial, legal, and healthcare professionals, among others to improve the justice system’s handling of those struggling with mental health.
Governor Andy Beshear noted the multiple physical crises Kentuckians have faced recently.
“If the last two years have shown us anything, it’s that suffering and trauma are real,” Beshear said.
Chief Justice of Kentucky John Minton Jr. said the judicial system has become the default system, which takes on the resulting mental trauma.
“Our prisons and county jails, sadly, are the largest providers of mental healthcare in the state,” Minton said.
Minton announced the Kentucky Judicial Commission on Mental Health to seek solutions for the betterment of those who are suffering.
Justice Debra Hembree Lambert will chair the commission. She said while she’s looking forward to tackling issues surrounding mental health and substance abuse, this will also be the first time that an effort has been made to assess and improve the course handling of those with intellectual disabilities.
“No group this broad and with this many resources has ever come together to tackle all three of those issues,” Lambert said.
Justice Lambert hopes it will improve the recidivism rate in the commonwealth and turn a system, which Gov. Beshear says sometimes serves as a revolving door for Kentucky’s incarcerated, into a clear pathway towards a brighter future.
“It’s going to go a long way not just to move people through the justice system, but to get them better,” Beshear said.
The members of the commission have not yet been announced. Justice Lambert said this is because the list is not yet finalized. But once it is, that group will meet for the first time on September 22.
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