Cowlitz County's new mental health court diversion program begins accepting referrals Tuesday.
The District Court program — known as the Hope and Recovery Court — plans to accept 10 defendants at a time. It will provide treatment instead of jail time and fines to those with schizophrenia, bipolar, schizoaffective disorder and other mental illnesses.
Misdemeanor defendants interested in the program should contact their attorneys.
Organizers say the program will reduce jail and court costs by preventing people who commit nonviolent offenses from cycling repeatedly through the justice system.