National Judicial Task Force to Examine the State Courts' Response to Mental Illness
On March 30, 2020, the Boards of Directors of the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators took action to establish a new Task Force to assist state courts in their efforts to more effectively respond to the needs of court-involved individuals with serious mental illness.
The Task Force will build upon the previous work of the NCSC National Advisory Committee supported by funding from the State Justice Institute. Their work and future plans are described in the transition report, The Future is Now: Decriminalization of Mental Illness.
The National Advisory Committee produced several informative resources to inform and educate the judiciary concerning mental health and the courts to include the Leading Change guide and the Coordinated Court and Community Responses website.
The Leading Change Guide for judges and court leaders is intended for court professionals who want to create change in how mental health needs are addressed in their communities but aren't sure how to get started. It lays out the steps for beginning the movement toward change in the court and community's response to mental health and co-occurring disorders—from inviting stakeholders to the first meeting to sustaining the initial momentum for long-term progress. It includes a list of potential stakeholders, action step checklists, sample meeting agendas, assessment questions.
The Coordinated Court and Community Responses website highlights the practices that create a strong foundation for an effective response to mental health needs in the community.
No matter what stage a community is at in its responses, this tool can be used to gain information about recommended practices that create a stronger structure of support for individuals with mental health and co-occurring needs. It includes links to resources and practice descriptions.
Mental Health Facts in Brief
In support of the National Initiative to Improve the Court and Community Response to Mental Illness, NCSC presents the following "Mental Health Facts in Brief" series as court information resources for 2020.
The Psychiatric Care Continuum, a detailed overview of the impacts of mental illness and mental health concerns upon the judiciary and legal system.
Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Community-Based Civil Commitment, outlining court-ordered community treatment in regards to the health, safety, and welfare of mental illness subjects and the public.
Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders (COD) reviews the history and issues presented by co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders and the strategies courts can use to address them.
Trauma and Its Implication for Justice Systems provides an overview of how a trauma history may relate to individual justice involvement and implications of trauma awareness for the justice system.