MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Sen. Al Franken is hoping this is the year he can get legislation passed to help people suffering from mental illness.

The senator has made mental health a priority since his first day in Washington. Now, he’s working on legislation that would improve mental health services within the criminal justice system.

“This legislation is about not wasting lives and not wasting taxpayers’ money and having mental health courts, so that when a prosecutor and the defense attorney and the judge and the arresting officer say this person really doesn’t belong in prison, they should be getting treatment,” Franken said.

The senator says the legislation would also provide resources for law enforcement and corrections officers to get the training they need to deal with mental illness in the field.

The bill is expected to pass and be on President Barack Obama’s desk soon.