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A press release on a juvenile mental health court in California that received an award.

This document examines the use of mental health courts in the United States as a response by communities to the increasingly common arrest and incarceration of people with serious mental illnesses. Based on analysis of 20 existing mental health courts’ operation, it is the product of much discussion among the Bazelon Center’s legal and policy staff.

Overview of mental health courts. The what and how on mental health courts.

This report incorporates observations, interviews and continuing discussions with a number of officials and key actors in the nation’s first four mental health courts (Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, San Bernardino, and Anchorage).

This guide from the Council of State Governments Justice Center offers practical recommendations to mental health court practitioners about how to engage crime victims in case proceedings. The unprecedented guide asserts that the rights due victims in criminal court proceedings are not always made available to individuals who are victimized by people accepted into mental health courts—largely due to confusion about how to involve victims at various points in the mental health court process without compromising medical privacy compliance. Mental health courts lack preliminary hearings, witness testimony, and motion hearings that are found in criminal court proceedings. The guide outlines how standard rights adhered to in these proceedings can be adapted for mental health court operations. In addition to recommending collaborative strategies for notifying victims about changes in case status and involving them in appropriate proceedings, the guide provides examples of how some mental health and other specialty courts have addressed crime victims’ needs in Alaska, Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, and Wisconsin.

Preliminary Observations from an Evaluation of the Broward County Mental Health Court.

Mental health courts have developed as one response to persons with mental illness who are involved with the criminal justice system. This study investigated the efficiency and safety goals of one such court in Broward County, FL.

The creation of mental health courts has emerged as a strategy to address the impact of persons with mental illness in the criminal justice system by consolidating the management of certain types of cases into a single court. This article describes an evaluation of the nation's first such court, the Broward County Mental Health Court.

An examination of defendants’ subjective experiences in terms of perceived coercion, procedural justice, and the emotional impact of mental health court involvement which have become important concerns in their own right as well as factors that may ultimately mediate other outcomes.

Description of mental health court process and outcomes and pathways into treatment and mental health service utilization.

Mental health courts successfully divert defendants into treatment. However, few studies have examined whether this increased access to services positively affects client outcomes. This study compared changes in symptoms in a sample of defendants in Broward County mental health court with such changes in a comparison sample of defendants in a regular court.

Authors describe mental health courts in Broward County, Florida; King County, Washington; Anchorage, Alaska; and Marion County, Indiana.

This study examined rearrest and linkage to mental health services among 368 misdemeanants with severe and persistent mental illness who were served by the Clark County Mental Health Court (MHC).

News and Notes in Psychiatric Services on mental health courts.

This paper is intended to advance the state of knowledge concerning MHCs in two ways. Firstly, findings are summarized from separate acceptability and effectiveness evaluations conducted at the request of the respective governing bodies of two MHCs in Seattle, WA. These evaluations combined process evaluation methods, such as interviews and surveys of key informants and surveys of stakeholders, with quantitative analyses of early data related to reincarceration, time spent in detention, and linkage/engagement with mental health services as a result of MHC participation. Secondly, by comparing and contrasting evaluations from two courts sharing a fairly uniform set of contextual factors, the study seeks to further set the stage for future research into the effect of such factors on MHC acceptability, organizational structure, functioning, and effectiveness

The present study reports data on the referral and disposition decision-making processes of seven mental health courts. Information on all referrals to the seven courts over a three-month period was gathered. The goal of this paper is to advance the knowledge base that can inform communities searching for alternatives to the unnecessary incarceration of people with serious mental illness. The present study was designed to examine the referral and disposition decision-making processes of mental health courts (MHCs).

This publication identifies 10 essential elements of mental health court design and implementation. Each element contains a short statement describing criteria mental health courts should meet, followed by several paragraphs explaining why the element is important and how courts can adhere to it.

The guide examines available studies on mental health courts and translates the findings to help policymakers and practitioners understand their design and function, as well as their success. Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the guide reviews how mental health courts address the issues related to people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system.