Albany--A special court in Dougherty County is so successful at helping drug-addicted and mentally ill suspects, it will serve as a national model.
The Dougherty Superior Court's Mental Health and Substance Abuse division is one of five sites in the country to participate in a U.S. Department of Justice study.
It will help develop and refine 200 similar courts nationwide. The Albany court will serve as a learning site for two years, beginning in June.
"We think it's going to enhance the program here in south Georgia because it will bring some national recognition to the court program here in Albany, probably put us on the radar screen maybe for some future programing and development," says Judge Stephen Goss.
Dougherty's Mental Health Court began in 2002. It puts mental health patients who commit non-violent crimes in counseling rather than jail.