Blake P. Kavanagh
Mental Health Courts Performance Measures
Court-based problem-solving initiatives seek to address the growing number of mentally ill defendants that have entered the criminal justice system by focusing on the immediate pressures that have led to the development of the mental health court strategy, as well as the challenging applications for this therapeutically oriented judicial approach.
Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may
be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.
The GAINS Center has developed a comprehensive database to identify the existing mental health courts in the United States. As a living document, the information included in the database will be updated as needed. It includes: the location of each mental health court, the year established, target participants (e.g. felony, misdemeanor, violent/non), approximate annual enrollments (or total enrollments), and necessary contact information.
During an advisory council meeting on September 14 and 15, 2009, a select group of approximately a dozen mental health court experts and project staff from the National Center for State Courts worked together to produce a set of performance measures designed specifically for Mental Health Courts (MHCs).
This report presents a context for models of communication, discusses the culture and decision making, and recommends best practices for mental health courts. An executive summary is also available.
A review of state legislation dealing with mental health courts.
While intended for the assessment of incoming inmates, this screening tool provides gender-specific screening tools in its Appendix.
California's Administrative Office of the Courts published this 2011 Screenings and Assessments Used in the Juvenile Justice System that gives a detailed overview of the various assessment tools available for the screening of juveniles and their risks and needs for mental health.
Michigan's Guide to Developing and Implementing a Mental Health Court provides screening tool recommendations in Appendix C.
This article analyzes the historical and legal ground work of the mental health courts (therapeutic justice and drug treatment courts) as well as addresses the challenges of working with the mentally disabled before and after court proceedings. The article also "reviews studies of MHC operations and effectiveness and suggests future directions for MHCs."