Mental Health Court Evaluations

Individuals with mental illnesses involved in the criminal justice system have become a pressing policy issue. One of the most popular responses to emerge has been the mental health court, which combines court supervision with community-based treatment services, usually instead of a jail or prison sentence.
Mental health courts generally share the following goals: to improve public safety by reducing criminal recidivism, improving the quality of life of people with mental illnesses by increasing their participation in treatment. It also reduces court- and corrections-related costs by providing an alternative to incarceration.

Mental health courts are diversionary interventions designed to engage defendants with mental illnesses in treatment instead of incarceration. These courts have grown in popularity in recent years, with over 170 currently being operated throughout the United States.
Not every person pending criminal charges is a good fit for mental health court. If the attorney feels it might be appropriate, the client will refer them to a clinician.

The first step is admission to mental health court is a clinical evaluation from a licensed evaluator. As part of the evaluation, the clinician is assessing for a history of mental illness, developmental and social history, and current functioning levels. Not every person who commits a crime is a good fit for mental health court and the clinician will assess for program suitability. Following the examination, the attorney reviews the clinical evaluation and determines whether to proceed with a mental health court placement.

If you feel Mental Health Court is appropriate for your clients, reach out! Initial attorney consultations are free, and we are pleased to discuss possibilities with you.