An estimated 25% of Colorado's prison population is mentally ill, and nearly all suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction. Once they are in the system, most find themselves in a revolving door of crime, conviction and prison. But in 17 months of existence, nonviolent felons in the Arapahoe County Mental Health Court have a zero percent recidivism rate.
Everybody over a certain age — say, around 50 — has these moments: The car keys go missing. They can't retrieve a once-familiar name. They stride into a room with purpose and then forget why.
Phyllis Hersch knows about those lapses.
"I go to the store and do five errands and miss the most important one because I've gotten distracted by something else," says Hersh, who just turned 70. Recently she alarmed herself by leaving her car in the garage with the motor running at her home in Massachusetts.