MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County leaders announced the expansion of Shelby County’s Mental Health Court on Tuesday.

According to the United States Department of Justice, more than two-thirds of inmates in local jails have or have had a mental health problem, compared to approximately 20% of the general population.

“All too often everyone has given up on our participants, but we refuse to do so. These additional resources will allow us to double our capacity to serve Shelby County residents,” Judge Gerald Skahan said.

Mental Health Courts have been adapted nationwide among local governments in efforts to attempt to balance the justice system along with helping those who suffer from mental illnesses and substance abuse.

“Investment in access to mental health resources can help reduce crime in our community. Participants in mental health courts are less likely to reoffend than those who go through the traditional criminal justice system,” Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said.

Established in 2016, the Shelby County Mental Health Court provides counseling, healthcare and employment assistance as an alternative to incarceration to those who have been charged with a nonviolent crime and suffer from severe mental illness.