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.

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“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.

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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.

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