This snapshot provides details on the Ramsey County, Minnesota, Mental Health Court Learning Site—how it functions, whom it serves, and what makes it unique.
Publications on Mental Health Courts
Justice Center Publications
This snapshot provides details on the New York City’s Education & Assistance Corporation Mental Health Diversion Program—how it functions, whom it serves, and what makes it unique.
This snapshot provides details on the Dougherty County, Georgia, Mental Health Court Learning Site—how it functions, whom it serves, and what makes it unique.
This snapshot provides details on the Bonneville County, Idaho, Mental Health Court Learning Site—how it functions, whom it serves, and what makes it unique.
The Judges’ Guide to Mental Illnesses in the Courtroom is a two-page bench card to help judges recognize the signs of possible mental illnesses among individuals in the courtroom and to respond sensitively and productively.
This toolkit from the Council of State Governments Justice Center, in partnership with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), offers practical tips for state mental health commissioners when managing a crisis involving a person with a history or current diagnosis of serious mental illness.
This report from the Council of State Governments Justice Center’s Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project is intended to help criminal justice officials work with health professionals to better use both systems’ information to reduce criminal justice involvement among people with mental illnesses and to provide better links to treatment.
In this written testimony, Dr. Fred Osher speaks before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, highlighting issues specific to people with mental disabilities who come into contact with the corrections system.
The guide from the Council of State Governments Justice Center reviews the design and function of mental health courts, outcomes of mental health court participation, and questions and implications for policy and practice.
This primer from the Council of State Governments Justice Center provides a general overview of the mental health court program model and discusses the emergence of the courts, their objectives and procedures, how they differ from drug courts, and a number of other key issues.
This publication from the Council of State Governments Justice Center identifies effective approaches by local criminal justice systems to defendants with mental illnesses and, often, co-occurring substance use disorders at the pretrial stage.
This Council of State Governments Justice Center publication is intended to highlight the potential role of crime victims in mental health courts, addressing the challenges court teams face in trying to involve victims and the reasons to devote time and energy to overcoming them.
The purpose of this guide is to help both well-established and newly operating courts develop practical, feasible, and effective strategies for collecting outcome data. After a brief discussion of key assumptions and target population and goals, the guide suggests strategies for determining which data to collect, obtaining the data, evaluating the data, comparing the data, collecting qualitative data, and overcoming common challenges.
This report from the Council of State Governments Justice Center provides a crash course for criminal justice professionals who are interested in better understanding mental illness and the mental health system.
This report from the Council of State Governments Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project explains critical issues such as determining whether to establish a mental health court, defining the target population, ensuring confidentiality, sustaining the court, and other key considerations.
Research has shown that family engagement during a youth’s time in the juvenile justice system helps to improve outcomes across behavioral health, education, and delinquency.
In this report, Center for Court Innovation Director of Mental Health Court Programs Carol Fisler discusses the implications of a growing body of research on the efficacy of mental health courts.
This publication from the Urban Institute and the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati presents findings from an evaluation of programs funded through the Substance Use Disorder and Severe Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System Initiative.
The report is based on a national survey of all JMHCs in the U.S., site visits, stakeholder interviews, observations of court proceedings, and focus groups, and extensive interviews with participants and their guardians.
In 2008, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) developed the Michigan Mental Health Court Grant Program as a mechanism to jointly fund a statewide mental health court pilot program during fiscal year 2009. In […]
This Southern Center for Human Rights report presents a number of recommendations to address Georgia’s high rate of residents under correctional control, including reduction or elimination of incarceration for technical probation violations (as well as suggestions for addressing probation supervision […]
This study reviews literature assessing the effectiveness of U.S. mental health courts in reducing recidivism and improving clinical outcomes for participants using meta-analytic techniques. Mental Health Courts’ Effectiveness in Reducing Recidivism and Improving Clinical Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis
A guide about the grant program created to help states, units of local government, Indian tribes, and tribal organizations improve responses to justice-involved people with mental illnesses or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders.
Provides a brief summary of the Justice Center’s landmark Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project Report, which was written by Justice Center staff and representatives of leading criminal justice and mental health organizations. The Report, which reflects the results of a series of meetings among 100 of the most respected criminal justice and mental health practitioners in the country, was released in June 2002.
This study published in Crime & Delinquency examines the relationship between psychiatric disorders, substance use, and arrests for violent, nonviolent, and drug-related offenses.
The creation of specialty 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. The purpose is to alert those who may conduct future evaluations of these types of courts to some of the contextual, logistic, and management features of our evaluation and the challenges we have encountered doing field research in this unique legal setting.
The authors describe mental health courts in Broward County, Florida; King County, Washington; Anchorage, Alaska; and Marion County, Indiana. Each of these courts is designed to meet the specific needs and resources of its jurisdiction. The authors discuss the issues of due process, availability of services, and control of resources, which must be addressed before mental health courts are widely implemented.
This study sought to describe the use of criminal charges, sanctions (primarily jail), and other strategies mental health courts use to mandate adherence to community treatment, and in doing so to elaborate on earlier descriptions of such courts.