Hall County Chief Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin received the inaugural award named for her mentor, Judge Stephen S. Goss, for work in the mental health field.
The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia gave the honor, the Judge Stephen S. Goss Mental Health Award, to Gosselin during its annual training conference this week.
“Judge Goss was a true friend and mentor to me,” Gosselin said Wednesday, Sept. 16. “To have this award that was named for him and in his honor … means a lot to me. Mental health court is my passion and the reason to continue to do this job every day. When we can make a difference in people’s lives or offer them opportunities to change in productive and positive ways, it’s a good day for me.”
Goss was a former judge in Dougherty County and the Georgia Court of Appeals who died in 2019.
Gosselin started the mental health court, known as the Health Empowerment Linkage and Possibilities Court, in 2004 for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, which includes Hall and Dawson counties.
The mental health court is one of the county’s slate of accountability courts, which work toward a solution other than incarceration for people who have been charged with criminal offenses.
"The team has made a big difference in the lives of folks with mental health, I believe, that are involved in the criminal justice system,” Gosselin said. “We still could use some local resources like more housing and some more professional help down at the jail, so people come out on the right medications.”