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In this issue of The Judges’ Journal, we look at the “new” type of problem-solving court—mental health courts. We examine the development and research into the effectiveness of these courts and what the future holds. We also hear from judges who have firsthand experience in creating and running mental health courts.
Although a growing body of research on mental health courts shows consistent and promising results across a number of courts, it also squarely challenges the logic of the mental health court model. What are the implications for the design and operations of mental health courts?
Why create a federal mental health court in Utah in 2005? Learn about the genesis of Utah’s pioneering federal mental health court known as RISE (Reentry Independence through Sustainable Efforts).
While many judges may be reluctant to preside over a mental health court, Judge Ann O’Regan Keary believes that judges who may be reticent could in fact be excellent and would find working in such a setting enormously satisfying.
Mental health courts were developed to help address the large number of persons with serious mental illness in the criminal justice system. These courts, overall, have reduced criminal recidivism. However, mental health courts face considerable challenges, chief among them funding for additional courts to make a meaningful difference nationally.
Learn the personal journey taken by Glendale City Court in Arizona to establish a mental health court. The author discusses Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts’ standards for mental health courts.
By helping our defendants implement court-approved, mental health-driven, self-improvement courses, communities could develop their own “Silver Linings Bench Books” of available and accessible mental health and co-occurring services and have a judge supervise compliance on a consolidated criminal docket.
Throughout her life, Frankie Muse Freeman has worked tirelessly for racial justice and equality. From being instrumental in forming the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights to serving as the first woman on the U.S. commission on Civil Rights, her impact on St. Louis and the nation at large will be felt for generations to come. Even today, at 98, she continues to stay informed of civil rights issues and champion the cause.
Judge Dixon discusses from the perspective of the pessimist, optimist, and pragmatist the results of a Pew Research Center survey that asked experts what the public’s view and expectation of privacy will be in the next 10 years.
In mental health court, the goals are to address the underlying reason that the person is interacting with the judicial system and to reduce the chances that it will recur. In addition to the usual problem-solving court dilemmas, judges in mental health court often need to rely on teams of outside providers.