On April 6, U.S. Representative Hank Johnson (D-Fourth Congressional District) visited Newton County Superior Court Judge Samuel Ozburn’s mental health court.
On a weekly basis, the court gives residents dealing with serious illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder the chance to avoid jail by entering a program that offers classes and weekly support groups.
Participants in the program are picked up by a van to come to classes and treatments. They are also regularly checked on by law enforcement to make sure their home is safe and, for those who struggle with drug problems, to check that have not suffered a relapse.
Participants come to Ozburn’s courtroom weekly. If they attended their classes and continue to test negative for drugs and alcohol, they are congratulated and are entered into raffles for prizes.
The court began in July of 2013 and has graduated dozens of successful citizens who come out with time management skills, as well as jobs or leads to employment. The Congressman was impressed by the fact that Newton County’s innovative system is being copied throughout the country.