SHAHEEN SECURES $325,000 FOR NASHUA MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM

Funding will support crime prevention program for mentally ill offenders

December 17, 2009

(Washington, D.C.)-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen announced today that she has secured $325,000 for the Greater Nashua Mental Health Center to 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. The funding, which was approved by the Senate as part of the Fiscal Year 2010 Omnibus Appropriations bill, has been signed into law by President Obama.

"Counseling criminals with mental illness has shown to be highly effective in preventing future crimes," said Shaheen. "This program has already shown success, and I'm glad this funding will allow the program to expand and continue to keep Nashua safe."

"On behalf of the Greater Nashua Mental Health Center, I would like to express our gratitude to Senator Shaheen's office for their assistance in securing funds to expand the Community Connections Mental Health Court Project.  Since 2006, this highly successful program has been transitioning non-violent offenders with a mental illness towards rehabilitation rather than retribution in the criminal justice system. Our goal is to create a comprehensive criminal justice/mental health program that will improve individual outcomes while maintaining public safety and decreasing the overall cost to society," said Hisham Hafez, M.D., Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Greater Nashua Mental Health Center.

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. Since 2006, nearly 200 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.

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