By Alan James Roscetti
The Niagara Falls City Court offers additional “Quality of Life” courts. I’d like to provide an overview of each one in the upcoming weeks to give our citizens some insight and understanding of the system. The first court I’d like to address is Mental Health Court.
In many instances, a defendant who is facing criminal charges may have committed the alleged crime due to their current mental health status or due to substance abuse issues. After evaluating the mitigating circumstances to the situation at hand, it is the judge’s responsibility to decipher whether or not incarceration is a suitable punishment for the safety, security, and well being of the defendant coinciding with society’s best interest or whether an alternative to incarceration will be more appropriate. This would not only be for the safety, welfare, and security for the defendant, but also for the law-abiding citizens of New York State.
One of the alternative programs to incarceration at our current Niagara Falls City Court is Mental Health Court. This program offers mental health therapeutic counseling for the defendant to address their mental issues so that the problems are identified and do not negatively resurface, provoking the issues to foster into criminal behaviors. This program will ensure that the defendant is given the attention, surveillance, and support that they need to overcome their obstacles so that they may live a productive law-abiding life in the future.
As citizens, we need to recognize and distinguish the difference between punitively disciplining an individual for their recklessness, as oppose to correctively reforming oneself to prevent future recidivism. Being vigilant that there are other alternatives to incarceration will benefit society by saving taxpayers money, as well as protecting society from potential imminent danger due to the benefits of what the mental health court program has to offer to the defendants who may be of need of it.
For more information, feel free to contact me at 716.308.1433