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Int J Law Psychiatry. 2010 Sep-Oct;33(4):227-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2010.06.004. Epub 2010 Jul 23.

Stakeholder views of a mental health court.

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  • 1Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, United States.


To reduce criminal justice involvement of persons with mental disorders, many communities have created mental health courts. Early mental health courts were restricted to persons charged with nonviolent misdemeanors. Recently mental health courts have begun to accept persons charged with felonies and violent crimes. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the process and outcomes of a mental health court that accepts persons charged with more serious offenses from the perspective of stakeholders in the court. Data come from semi-structured interviews with 43 professionals involved with the mental health court, including judges, attorneys, probation officers, case managers, mental health professionals, and agency administrators. The stakeholders endorsed mental health court compared to traditional court for reducing criminal justice involvement of individuals with mental disorders with a history of repeated arrests. The observations of stakeholders revealed important themes to consider in research evaluating mental health courts, including selection mechanisms, supervision processes, treatment access, use of sanctions, competency, indicators of effectiveness, participant characteristics associated with better or worse outcomes, and mechanisms of change.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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