Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Mental Health Courts

  • Chrysanthi Leon
  • Kevin Ralston
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_201



Mental health disorders are overrepresented within United States prison systems. Available national statistics show that nearly one quarter of state prisoners had received a clinical diagnosis or treatment within a 12-month period; when prisoners with symptoms of a mental disorder were also included, 56 % of state prisoners were defined as having a mental health problem (James and Glaze 20064). This alarming overrepresentation has been linked to the deinstitutionalization of mental care facilities and the lack of creation of outpatient services to fill the void created by their dismantling. Some of these mentally ill individuals that have fallen through the cracks of the health-care system have instead been swept up by the criminal justice system, in many cases for offenses related to the lack of treatment for their mental illness. Once they become a part of the criminal justice system, these mentally ill individuals often receive...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Recommended Reading and References

  1. Almquist L, Dodd E (2009) Mental health courts: a guide to research-informed policy and practice. Council of State Governments Justice Center: New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  2. Berman G, Feinblatt J (2001) Problem-solving courts: a brief primer. Law Policy 23:125–140Google Scholar
  3. Boothroyd RA, Poythress NG, McGaha A, Petrila J (2003) The Broward mental health court: process, outcomes and service utilization. Int J Law Psychiatry 26:55–71Google Scholar
  4. Burns PJ, Hiday VA, Ray B (2013) Effectiveness 2 years postexit of a recently established mental health court. Am Behav Sci 57:189–208Google Scholar
  5. Canada KE, Watson AC (2013) “Cause everybody likes to be treated good”: perceptions of procedural justice among mental health court participants. Am Behav Sci 57:209–230Google Scholar
  6. Cosden M, Ellens J, Schnell JL, Yamini-Diouf Y, Wolfe MM (2003) Evaluation of a mental health treatment court with assertive community treatment. Behav Sci Law 21:415–427Google Scholar
  7. Griffin PA, Steadman HJ, Petrila JD (2002) The use of criminal charges and sanctions in mental health courts. Psychiatr Serv 53(10):1285–1289Google Scholar
  8. Herinckx HA, Swart SC, Ama SM, Dolezal CD, King S (2005) Rearrest and linkage to mental health services among clients of the Clark county mental health court program. Psychiatr Serv 56:853–857Google Scholar
  9. James DJ, Lauren EG (2006) Mental health problems of prison and jail inmates. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. September 2006, NCJ 213600Google Scholar
  10. Keator KJ, Callahan L, Steadman HJ, Vesselinov R (2013) The impact of treatment on the public safety outcomes of mental health court participants. Am Behav Sci 57:231–243Google Scholar
  11. Leon CS (2007) Should courts solve problems? Connecting theory and practice. Crim Law Bull 43:879–899Google Scholar
  12. McNeil DE, Binder RL (2007) Effectiveness of mental health court in reducing criminal recidivism and violence. Am J Psychiatry 164:1395–1403Google Scholar
  13. Redlich AD, Steadman HJ, Monahan J, Petrila J, Griffin PA (2005) The second generation of mental health courts. Psychol Publ Policy Law 11:527–538Google Scholar
  14. Redlich AD, Steadman HJ, Monahan J, Robbins PC, Petrilla J (2006) Patterns of practice in mental health courts: a national survey. Law Hum Behav 30:347–362Google Scholar
  15. Sarteschi CM, Vaughn MG, Kim K (2011) Assessing the effectiveness of mental health courts: a quantitative review. J Crim Justice 39:12–20Google Scholar
  16. Schneider RD, Bloom HY, Heerema M (2007) Mental health courts. 1st ed. Toronto, Ontario: Irwin LawGoogle Scholar
  17. Steadman Henry J, Redlich A, Callahan L, Robbins P, Vesselinov R (2011) Effect of mental health courts on arrests and jail days a multisite study effect of mental health courts on arrests and jail days. Arch Gen Psychiatry 68:167–172Google Scholar
  18. Steadman HJ, Davidson S, Brown C (2001) Mental health courts: their promise and unanswered questions. Law Psychiatry 52:457–458Google Scholar
  19. Talesh S (2007) Mental health court judges as dynamic risk managers: a new conceptualization of the role of judges. DePaul Law Rev 57:92–132Google Scholar
  20. Trupin E, Richards H (2003) Seattle’s mental health courts: early indicators of effectiveness. Int J Law Psychiatry 26:33–53Google Scholar
  21. Wolff N, Fabrikant N, Belenko S (2011) Mental health courts and their selection processes: modeling variation for consistency. Law Hum Behav 35:402–412Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sociology and Criminal JusticeUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA