After a three-year journey, Woodland woman Amanda Manning successfully graduated from the Yolo County Mental Health Court.
Thursday, in the Eighth Division of the Yolo Superior Court in Woodland, Manning’s daughter, friend and member of the Mental Health Court Team, Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven, Judge Peter Williams, who presides over the Mental Health Court, and Current Mental Health. Members of the Health Courts Mental Health Courts Program and several others who helped Manning on her journey came together to speak and congratulate her on her success.
Williams held a graduation party, calling the recovering Manning “incredibly consistent”.
“This program is difficult,” emphasized Williams. “We wouldn’t be here if it was easier to transform yourself from less than your greatest potential to your greatest potential. I was.
“If you have completed this program, you have completed the program of your life,” he continued. “You have the tools you need to succeed. It’s not easy, but this program has never been easier. You’re ready to go. Ready to launch.”
Manning, 43, was arrested by Woodland Police on July 11, 2019 after threatening a local shoe store employee with a baseball bat. A month later, she was referred to a mental health court, which she attended for the first time on August 20th.
“You fought hard to overcome all the demons of what you had to do,” said public defender Brett Bundley. “You overcame what you lost in your family. I remember when you lost your mom and stepfather, you did it and you kept working.”
Established in 2013, the Mental Health Court is a surveillance system for adult offenders with serious mental illness designed to enhance treatment and reduce arrest, hospitalization, and prison time.
“Instead of banishing and abandoning those who suffer from mental and emotional problems, mental health courts insert hope and support into the very lives of those the traditional justice system says are hopeless.” Members receive the right mix of treatment and accountability they need to transform their lives.”
The program is completely voluntary and lasts a minimum of 18 months, but can be extended if failure is anticipated, Raven explained. To graduate, individuals follow a structured program to address mental health and enhance participants’ quality of life. The overarching goal of the program is to address the drivers of crime and reduce recidivism.
According to a Yolo County District Attorney’s Office press release, the program follows a forensic assertive community treatment model in which participants receive two hours of intensive service per week or meet with staff four times per week. The participant will proceed through her four stages of treatment: orientation and treatment planning, early recovery, active recovery, and sustained recovery.
“Instead of despair, they receive solutions,” Williams said. “They show compassion instead of indifference, they are given assistance instead of judgment. Instead of punishment, they are offered a passport to recovery.”
The team provides participants with comprehensive services focused on mental health, substance abuse, housing, work, school and physical health. At the end of the program, individuals participate in restorative justice conferences.
Throughout the ceremony, a dozen people shared inspiring memories and anecdotes of Manning, speaking of her resilience and drive to recover.
“You are a gift to others facing similar challenges,” said Yolo County Interim Mental Health Director Carlene Jakowski. “What a gift you are to our community here in Yolo County.”
Manning then addressed the entire court, acknowledging Williams’ successful completion of the program and thanking everyone for their support before presenting her with a framed certificate.
“I was digging a hole in my recovery, but I kept treading back and forth,” Manning said. was questioning the promise of new life.”
“I really want to thank everyone,” she concluded. “I have met some wonderful people and there is a real peace around me. Everyone has played an important role in my life on my journey to recovery. I am with you.” I’m proud of that.