SHAHEEN ANNOUNCES $325,000 FOR NASHUA MENTAL HEALTH CLINIC

Funding will support crime prevention program for mentally ill offenders

June 26, 2009

(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen announced today that her request for $325,000 to support a crime prevention program at the Greater Nashua Mental Health Center has been approved by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. The funding will help decrease crime in the Nashua area by expanding the Community Connections Mental Health Court Project, a collaborative effort between courts and area mental health centers that offers treatment to criminal offenders who suffer from mental illnesses and helps prevent them from reoffending.

"This crime prevention program has already shown great success in helping mentally ill criminal offenders get the support they need so that they do not reoffend," said Shaheen. "Treatment can be an effective tool for crime prevention, and I am very happy the Nashua community will be able to expand this important program with these additional funds."

"This funding will assist the Community Connections Mental Health Court Project in a vital expansion that will provide more non-violent offenders experiencing mental illness with the option of appropriate treatment alternatives to incarceration," Doctor Hisham Hafez, Executive Director & Chief Medical Officer at the health center. "The program's proven success over the past three years has resulted in a significant reduction in recidivism rates as well as substantial cost savings for New Hampshire's criminal justice system. All of us here at Greater Nashua Mental Health Center are grateful for Senator Shaheen's support of this endeavor."

The Community Connections Mental Health Court Project joins courts and area mental health centers to identify and treat criminal offenders who suffer from mental illnesses. The program diverts the offender before a criminal trial or offers sentencing alternatives to incarceration such as mental health treatment. Since 2006, 198 individuals have enrolled in the program and only five returned to the court due to program noncompliance. The additional funding will allow the program to expand its staff and increase its capacity to serve the Nashua area.

The funding was approved today by the Appropriations Committee as part of the fiscal year 2010 Commerce, Science, Justice and Related Agencies Appropriations legislation, which includes $7,550,00 for projects in New Hampshire.

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