SD chief justice seeks new mental health court

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – The South Dakota Supreme Court's chief justice says officials should seriously consider creating a mental health court in the Sioux Falls region.

Chief Justice David Gilbertson said Wednesday in his State of the Judiciary message that the need for such a court is "great" in Minnehaha County.

He says that from February through June 2018, 13.5 percent of prisoners screened at Minnehaha County jail intake had a mental illness.

He says a mental health court in Pennington County met a goal to become fully operational by Jan. 1.

Gilbertson says the program is led by a specially trained judge and includes a team of mental health personnel to provide treatment plans and services.

Gilbertson also says he's supporting the addition of a judge in the Second Judicial Circuit, which includes Lincoln and Minnehaha counties, because the court system is feeling the stress of drug prosecutions.