Operationalization and efficacy of mental health courts: A qualitative study




Ellis, Katie

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This study examines how the criminal justice system ended up being a repository for persons with mental illness who commit crimes, and how mental health courts have been established over the past decade to reduce the number of persons with mental illness in the criminal justice system. A combination of treatment and court supervision is the method for reducing recidivism amongst this population. Mental health courts are new justice programs, and require process evaluations in addition to studies that focus on outcome measures such as improved psychosocial functioning and a desistance from engaging in criminal activity or violence. No known process evaluations of mental health courts were discovered. This study designed and implemented a way to examine the efficacy of mental health courts by analyzing the responses to a questionnaire, completed by various mental health court professionals across the country.


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Mental Health Courts, Mentally ill offenders, process evaluation, program evaluation



Criminal Justice