February 5th, 2022 – As Bucks County unrolls the Mental Health Diversionary Court. The county’s correctional facility and courts lack any resources for homeless and chronically ill inmates to obtain identification, medical insurance, housing resources and other things to re-integrate back into society, leaving the county unable to keep former inmates out of jail for long.
The Mental Health Court and the Courts in general have not utilized any funding or staffing at the Bucks County Correctional Facility to begin the process when an inmate is approaching release. This should be done at either the jail or probation offices to begin this process until the end. At the state level, parole releases cannot and will not begin until state prisoners in Pennsylvania have secured identification, housing and treatment outside of the walls.
The Courts have passed the blame among other county departments to avoid any scrutiny by county officials. They have spoke of such reforms but nothing of substantial value has materialized.
But as we enter 2022, the staff of the assisted housing unit in Bristol Township have shown increasing concerns of the requirements of keeping participants in the community which requires the above mentioned resources or else they face expulsion from their brand new diversionary treatment program.
In order for participants to stay in the community, it requires a bank account, insurance for outpatient treatment or higher education for those with GED, obtaining necessary housing, and a vehicle for transporting themselves after completion of treatment. The Courts lay the responsibility for obtaining such resources on the staff of this house, increasing more burden on them and effectively preventing them from their main objectives.
As of this writing, we have expressed concern to the Judge who oversees the program, Judge Rae Boylan but she is unable due to lack of authority to institute such a program to solve this, leaving her unable to effectively do her job.
Hopefully, this article will catch the attention of officials who can rectify this important matter on this, not only for the chronically ill and homeless but for all potential releases into society.
Editor’s Note: When we obtain more information from the Courts, we will expand this article accordingly.