BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A presentation to introduce a process for the seriously mentally ill to go through a civil court procedure will be discussed at a public meeting on Nov. 2 at the 19th Judicial Courthouse in Baton Rouge.
The process, known as Assisted Outpatient Treatment, is covered by a state law passed in 2008.
Oscar Kazen, former associate probate judge will speak on the nationally-recognized AOT court in Bexar County, Texas which he presided over for several years. AOT courts are civil courts designed to assist individuals with serious mental illness adhere to court-ordered treatment plans, preventing relapse and dangerous deterioration.
Kazen created and oversaw the implementation of the first fully-operational civil AOT court in Texas. The Texas court serves as a national model with participants spending 80 percent fewer days in hospitals and saving the court's service area over $5 million.
Research shows AOT can assist the mentally ill by reducing homelessness (74 percent); suicide attempts (55 percent) and substance abuse (48 percent). It also positively affects public safety by reducing physical harm to others (47 percent) and property destruction (43 percent). In addition, research shows AOT saves money by reducing hospitalization (77 percent); arrests (83 percent) fewer days in hospitals, and incarceration (87 percent).
According to Janet Hays of Healing Minds NOLA, the presentation and discussion can provide positive pathways to better care and treatment for the seriously mentally ill, and would be beneficial to families, organizations working in law enforcement, the judicial system, probation and parole, coroners, emergency medical personnel, mental health providers, and those dedicated to the homeless.
The presentation and discussion in Baton Rouge will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., in the 11th floor courtroom of the 19th Judicial Courthouse Building, 300 North Boulevard.
The meeting is free and open to the public. CLICK HERE to register.