In North Carolina, if you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness and ends up in legal trouble, then you could qualify for the jail diversion program. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services explains that this program is designed to provide an alternative sentencing option for criminal charges against individuals with mental illnesses. Under this program, a person who is being charged with a crime and who has also been diagnosed with a mental condition can seek help instead of being incarcerated.
It is important to note that this option is only available to those who have committed certain crimes, mainly minor criminal activities. If you have been charged with a serious crime, like murder, you will not qualify. In addition, a person must be currently incarcerated and have a serious metal illness. Furthermore, the program is designed to help those who are willing to get treatment. If you refuse treatment, then you cannot participate. Finally, you can only be eligible if you would not be a risk to the public if you were to be released from jail.
Another option is a Crisis Intervention Team. A CIT is a program option that aims to identify those with mental illnesses before they go to jail. This type of program can assist law enforcement officers with identifying those who need help in order to get them treatment and prevent common issues that may occur when approaching someone with a mental illness. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.