Friday, May 17 2013 8:05 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:05:13 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- When Randy Kleiner stopped to help an injured driver, he didn't expect to become injured himself. But on Thursday morning, as he was assisting someone who had crashed their car, anotherMore>>
When Randy Kleiner stopped to help an injured driver, he didn't expect to become injured himself.More>>
Saturday, May 18 2013 9:25 PM EDT2013-05-19 01:25:46 GMT
As a family struggles with the death of a 15-year-old boy killed over and iPad, police are trying to track down the men responsible. Police say two men tried to rob the child of the device on Thursday.More>>
As a family struggles with the death of a 15-year-old boy killed over and iPad, police are trying to track down the men responsible.More>>
Saturday, May 18 2013 9:09 PM EDT2013-05-19 01:09:50 GMT
Lines of people were wrapped around The Lotto Store twice this weekend for the second largest lottery in the history of Powerball. The jackpot has grown to $600 million. People tell 8 News Now they waitedMore>>
Lines of people were wrapped around The Lotto Store twice this weekend for the second largest lottery in the history of Powerball.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 9:02 PM EDT2013-05-18 01:02:54 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A volunteer basketball coach at Shadow Ridge High School has been arrested, Clark County Schools Police Lt. Ken Young said. According to the Clark County Detention Center, the volunteer coach,More>>
A volunteer basketball coach at Shadow Ridge High School has been arrested, Clark County Schools Police Lt. Ken Young said.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:56:00 GMT
LAS VEGAS - Metro Police says a preteen who was assaulted Thursday during an attempted robbery has died. Investigators said the preteen was walking near Charleston Boulevard and Torrey Pines Drive withMore>>
Marcos Arenas, a Bonanza High School student who was assaulted Thursday during an attempted theft, has died, Metro Police said.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:39 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:39:56 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police are investigating two people found dead in an apartment complex near Desert Inn Road and Maryland Parkway. According to police, the bodies were found around 3 p.m. Friday atMore>>
Metro Police are investigating the deaths of a man and a woman whose bodies were found in an apartment Friday afternoon near Desert Inn Road and Maryland Parkway.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:17 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:17:28 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County firefighters are responding to reports of an explosion and fire at a facility located at North Las Vegas Boulevard and Sloan Lane. This is a developing story. 8NewsNOW. com willMore>>
One person is reported dead following an explosion and fire at a facility located at North Las Vegas Boulevard and Sloan Lane.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:03:09 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The theft of iPads, iPhones and other Apple devices is becoming commonplace, earning it the nickname, "Apple-picking," the police said. Bonanza High School student Marcos Arenas died ThursdayMore>>
The theft of iPads, iPhones and other Apple devices is becoming commonplace, earning it the nickname, "Apple-picking," the police said.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 6:42 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:42:38 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The Federal Election Commission had found that the parents of disgraced former Sen. John Ensign of Nevada made excessive in-kind contributions to a former political action committee staffMore>>
The Federal Election Commission had found that the parents of disgraced former Sen. John Ensign of Nevada made excessive in-kind contributions to a former political action committee staff member.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- Unless something changes, on July 1, Clark County's mental health court will cease to exist. The program which has been in place since 2003 helps those with a mental illness to stay out of jail.
Supporters say without the program, participants will likely cycle back through the justice system. The participants all have a criminal history.
Clark County's mental health court needs roughly $1.5 million a year to serve some 100 participants. Supporters say that is three times less than what it would cost to house those same 100 people in the county jail.
Though it takes dollars and cents to fund the program, supporters say its real value is in public safety. What's it worth to turn a habitual criminal into a productive member of society?
A scuffle last month in Judge Jackie Glass' courtroom made news when a marshal suffered minor injuries. Missing from most of the coverage however was mention of the defendant's mental illness that no doubt contributed to her outburst. "That's an example of someone with mental illness that is untreated," said Judge Jackie Glass, 8th Judicial District Court.
Latasha Williams is not yet a participant in Clark County's Mental Health Court but to Judge Glass, she personifies the consumers as they're called when they first enter the program. "It's night and day the contrast of how they come into our program and how they go out of our program," said Judge Glass.
If Williams is the before image, Lucy Dorantez is the after. "How are you doing?" asks Judge John McGroarty with the 8th Judicial District Court.
"I'm doing excellent your honor," answers Dorantez. A court administrator even nominates Dorantez for graduation.
In her 33 years, Dorantez logged some 19 arrests before entering mental health court in March of 2009. Her most recent arrest was for calling in a bogus bomb threat while under the influence of methamphetamine and an untreated bi-polar disorder.
"I remember going to sleep when I was able to go to sleep and say you know I don't want to wake up tomorrow. Or being awake and just by myself and thinking I'm afraid to live and I'm afraid to die. So I was stuck in the middle and there was like no point of return," Dorantez said.
Through mental health court, consumers like Lucy Dorantez, receive mental health and addiction services, housing and supervision. At a price, according to the court, of $58 per day. That is roughly one-third of what it costs to house an inmate in the county jail.
"It costs less to treat them on the front end then it does to warehouse them on the back end. And by treating them, there's less chance they're going to come back into the criminal justice system. So it's very cost effective," said Glass.
According to court statistics, the number of felony arrests among graduates has declined by nearly 95 percent. On this day Dorantez joins their ranks.
"You've been so good. It's been a long path but you've overcome a lot. Congratulations," said McGroaty said.
"It feels so good that I don't have to be the mess that I was. That went on for a long time and thankfully, it's over. It's over," said Dorantez.
No longer overwhelmed by mental illness and drugs, Dorantez plans to work and reunite with her 15-year-old son and to marry later this year. Dreams she says she didn't dare to imagine until she found help and hope in a Clark County courtroom.
"I'm thankful. I'm very thankful," she said.
Mental health court is not currently in the governor's budget. Without state funding, it would be up to Clark County to cover the $1.7 million price tag.