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Law Hum Behav. 2006 Dec;30(6):659-74.

Mental health court outcomes: a comparison of re-arrest and re-arrest severity between mental health court and traditional court participants.

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Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-8107, USA.


Mental health courts have been proliferating across the country since their establishment in the late 1990's. Although numerous advocates have proclaimed their merit, only few empirical studies have evaluated their outcomes. This paper evaluates the effect of one mental health court on criminal justice outcomes by examining arrests and offense severity from one year before to one year after entry into the court, and by comparing mental health court participants to comparable traditional criminal court defendants on these measures. Multivariate models support the prediction that mental health courts reduce the number of new arrests and the severity of such re-arrests among mentally ill offenders. Similar analysis of mental health court completers and non-completers supports the prediction that a "full dose" of mental health treatment and court monitoring produce even fewer re-arrests.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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