Mental Health Treatment in Prison
What are the services provided by mental health courts?
Mental health courts are criminal courts set up to deal with people who have mental health issues or learning disabilities who have committed crimes. Instead of putting these people in jail, mental health courts (MHC’s) look to enroll them in community treatment to deal with their mental health problems so that they will not commit crimes again. “MHC’s have been created in 34 states with a total of 7560 clients. (Redlich, 2006).” MHC’s were designed to treat people with mental health issues in jails and their families. A team approach is taken in a MHC when deciding how to treat an offender. This team usually consists of the prosecuting attorney, defense attorneys, case manager, judge, and other treatment providers. MHC’s have a goal of keeping people with mental health issues out of jail and into community mental health treatment. It is thought that by treating the person’s illness, the offender will be less likely to re-offend and stay out of jail. Mental health courts work with community mental health services and require that the offender to take part in treatment, take medications prescribed by the therapists, and follow any conditions set up by the court in the offender’s treatment plan. MHC’s offer incentives to the offender to entice them to cooperate with the courts. The courts may offer to reduce or drop charges on an offender if they agree to, and complete treatment. The court may also make a rule that the offender must find and maintain employment. The courts provide supervision of the offender by having review hearings where those involved in his or her treatment report the person’s progress. Depending on the person’s progress, they may receive praise for a job well done, or a sanction if it found that they are not participating in treatment.
How do these services benefit the prisoners?
References: Addressing Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System (2009) Department of Justice: Justice Blog Retrieved from http://blogs.justice.gov/main/archives/431
CSG justice center primer on mental health courts. (2009). Psychiatric Services, 60(2), 275. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/
McNiel, D. E., & Binder, R. L. (2007). Effectiveness of a mental health court in reducing criminal recidivism and violence. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 164(9), 1395-403. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/220485453?accountid=34899
Mental Health Court Can Save Time, Money, and Lives. (2013) Ohio State Bar Association Retrieved from https://www.ohiobar.org/forpublic/resources/lawyoucanuse/pages/lawyoucanuse-230.aspx
Redlich, A. D., Steadman, H. J., Monahan, J., Pamela, C. R., & Petrila, J. (2006). Patterns of practice in mental health courts: A national survey. Law and Human Behavior, 30(3), 347-62. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10979-006-9036-x
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