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Problem-Solving Courts

Mental health courts are specialized dockets for individuals with mental health issues. These dockets embrace a non-adversarial, problem-solving approach to qualifying cases. Mental health courts provide a greater focus on treatment and individualized case plans than traditional criminal dockets. Mental health court models vary, especially around the timing of participant entry. Strong coordination and judicial leadership influence the success of mental health courts.

While mental health courts may be the most appropriate fit for individuals with mental health issues, other problem-solving courts such as veterans court or co-occurring treatment courts (integrating substance use disorder and mental health treatment) should also be considered given the prevalence of co-occurring disorders. Probation-based or post-adjudication problem-solving courts are also excellent interventions in later intercepts. Eligibility should be based on objective criteria and assessments, and generally problem-solving courts should target high-risk/high-need individuals.

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