Judge Statom Says Mental Health Court Brings Taxpayer Savings, Helps Many With Mental Issues

Monday, December 2, 2019 - by Joseph Dycus

General Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom on Monday touted the value of mental health court, saying it can save taxpayers money and improve the lives of many with mental issues.

A rather new creation (the County Commission began funding it in 2017), Judge Statom oversees misdemeanor mental health cases in General Sessions Court. Meanwhile, Criminal Court Judge Don Poole handles felony mental health cases.

“ If you have not yet had a diagnosed mental illness, we will have you evaluated to see if you're eligible,” said Judge Statom, who dispelled notions that anyone who claimed to have a mental illness would get into mental health court. “For the most part, the people we admit into the program have insight into their mental illness.”

Judge Statom emphasized the financial ramifications of mental health court. According to the judge, every day an inmate spends in custody costs Hamilton County taxpayers anywhere between $89 to $150. Mental health court helps mentally unhealthy people out of custody.

“People who are mentally ill tend to be in custody at least 10 times longer than those who are not mentally ill,” said Judge Statom. “Anyone who we can get into mental health court saves all of us as taxpayers a lot of money.”

She told the club the people in mental health court often have very serious mental issues.

“Most people I have in court are schizophrenic and bipolar,” said Judge Statom. “Most of them, before someone intervened, have been off their medication for years. A high percentage of them are homeless.”

While in mental health court, defendants are required to come to court every week, while also meeting with their case worker and living in a group home. If they do well, the defendant can slowly distance themselves from the court. They will be allowed to come to mental health court once every other week, and then once a month, and then not at all while also moving away from the group home.

After saying that many in mental health court are drug users, the judge was asked about her opinion on marijuana, and its possible legalization and status as an alleged “gateway drug.”

“There are people who tell me it’s about to be legalized in the state of Tennessee,” said Judge Statom. “I have my thoughts because the THC (and sometimes fentanyl) levels are so high in marijuana now. I’m not personally in favor of it, but there are mid-areas that you could come to in terms of medical reasons.”

When asked what could be done to stop people from falling into a life of crime, Judge Statom said a good childhood was essential. She believes that a person’s childhood experiences could shape the rest of their life, and having a good mentor during this period of time could be beneficial.

“This sounds kind of silly, but if we could find a place to fit in and mentor somebody in our lives that may only help one person or child, but it could make a difference,” said Judge Statom.

 


Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Matthew Mielke, 26, Dies In Pickup Truck Crash In Cleveland

Residents Escape Duplex Fire On E. 4th Street. Investigation Underway


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: AMBOTIS, THOMAS AARON HOMELESS SODDY DAISY, 37379 Age at Arrest: 28 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FAILURE TO APPEAR ... (click for more)

A 26-year-old man died in a single-vehicle crash in Cleveland early Friday morning. Cleveland Police said Matthew Mielke was traveling east on Blythe Ferry Road when he lost control of his ... (click for more)

Neighbors helped each other get out of a burning duplex in the Highland Park area Friday night. It happened just before 7:30 p.m. in the 1800 block of E. 4th Street. Fire officials ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: AMBOTIS, THOMAS AARON HOMELESS SODDY DAISY, 37379 Age at Arrest: 28 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FAILURE TO APPEAR --- ANDERSON, CHRISTOPHER ALLEN 4924 BAL HARBOR CIR CHATTANOOGA, 37416 Age at Arrest: 30 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga VIOLATION OF PROBATION ( DOMESTIC ASSAULT ) --- ... (click for more)

Matthew Mielke, 26, Dies In Pickup Truck Crash In Cleveland

A 26-year-old man died in a single-vehicle crash in Cleveland early Friday morning. Cleveland Police said Matthew Mielke was traveling east on Blythe Ferry Road when he lost control of his black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. The vehicle slid down an embankment and crashed into a tree in the incident around 2 a.m. It happened near the intersection of Stephens Road. ... (click for more)

Opinion

A Better Plan Is Needed For Quarry Golf Course At Mountain Creek

With regard to the ongoing saga of the old Quarry golf course and its proposed development, I reject the proposed plan endorsed by the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy (Chattanoogan - Breaking News 11/30/2019) and believe a better outcome can be achieved. There is a middle ground that involves all R-1 construction including preserving the tree, greenspace, streams and ponds. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Hot dog for every December and here we go! We at The Saturday Funnies relish in each December because it is during this time many of the best stories are borne. From Thanksgiving to Christmas each year is a “busy street” and over these holidays, which we dutifully celebrate because of a very real and ever-revealing Christ-child, and not just from the teacher’s advancement, we will ... (click for more)

Sports

Vols' Nigel Warrior Named PFF All-American Honorable Mention

Tennessee senior defensive back Nigel Warrior was named a PFF College All-America Honorable Mention earlier this week. The Georgia native has been the leader of the Vols' secondary this year and has been one of the major reasons for UT's impressive turnaround on defense during the second half of the season. Warrior is tied for the SEC lead with four interceptions (14th ... (click for more)

UTC's Tiano Named SoCon Offensive Player Of The Month

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior quarterback Nick Tiano is the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Month for November, the league office announced today. He is the first Moc to earn monthly recognition from the SoCon since Derrick Craine in October of 2015. Tiano helped the Mocs to a 2-2 mark in November, wrapping up a 6-6 campaign and a third place showing ... (click for more)