Mental Health Courts

From four in 1997, the number of mental health courts in the United States has grown to over 300 today, with programs found in almost every state. As judges, county and state leaders, and advocates continue to call for the establishment or expansion of mental health courts in their jurisdictions, demand has steadily grown for information on designing, implementing, and revising mental health courts to achieve desired public safety and public health outcomes.

The CSG Justice Center has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure quality in mental health courts nationwide. Since 2002, the CSG Justice Center has provided training and technical assistance (TTA) to over 100 mental health courts around the country—first as the TTA provider to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA) Mental Health Courts Program and under BJA’s Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP), which is the single best opportunity for a mental health court seeking start-up funding. In serving these functions, the CSG Justice Center identified and supports five mental health court learning sites across the country and continues to serve as a primary point of contact for communities interested in establishing a mental health court.

Finally, the CSG Justice Center has authored a number of publications on mental health courts that continue to serve as key resources for programs across the country, including Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses: The Essential Elements of a Mental Health Court, Mental Health Courts: A Guide to Research-Informed Policy and Practice, Mental Health Courts: A Primer for Policymakers and Practitioners, A Guide to Collecting Mental Health Court Outcome Data, and many others. In 2013, the CSG Justice Center released Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum, a dynamic and comprehensive BJA-supported online curriculum for mental health court programs.