Thursday, January 08, 2009

Mental health court primer

Just as a newly reconstituted Harris County judiciary approved a new felony mental health court, the Council on State Government's Justice Center has produced a series of public policy primers on creating and operating mental health courts, which are an increasingly common approach in Texas toward a difficult-to-manage population of defendants:
Mental Health Courts: A Primer for Policymakers and Practitioners
Provides a general overview of this program model and discusses the emergence of mental health courts, their objectives and procedures, how they differ from drug courts, and a number of other key issues.

Guide to the Role of Crime Victims in Mental Health Courts
This guide describes how the rights due victims in criminal court proceedings are not always made available to individuals who are victimized by people accepted into mental health courts, largely due to confusion about how to involve victims at various points in the mental health court process without compromising adherence to medical privacy regulations. The guide includes examples of how some mental health and other specialty courts have successfully addressed these challenges.

The Essential Elements of a Mental Health Court
As the commonalities among mental health courts begin to emerge, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and others have become interested in developing consensus not only on what a mental health court is, but on what a mental health court should be. This document articulates this consensus in the form of ten essential elements.

A Guide to Mental Health Court Design and Implementation
Addresses issues such as identifying stakeholders to plan and administer court, screening defendants to participate in the court, and sustaining a court's operation and enables new and existing courts to benefit from some of the lessons learned from the BJA grantee courts and some of the many other courts that have sprouted across the country in recent years.

A Guide to Collecting Mental Health Court Outcome Data
Provides practical strategies for deciding which data to collect, for obtaining, evaluating, and comparing the data. Identifies challenges that typically discourage courts from collecting and analyzing data and explains how to clear these hurdles. Positions courts to demonstrate the value of their initiatives and to improve the broader understanding of the effectiveness of mental health courts.

Navigating the Mental Health Maze
Intended for criminal justice practitioners who know little about mental illness or the mental health system, but now must take a "crash course" because they are part of an initiative that serves people with mental illness involved in the justice system. Offers a basic overview of mental illnesses, including symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment and discusses the coordination of treatment provided by community-based systems of care and court-based services.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Associated Press - January 7, 2009 11:55 AM ET

HOUSTON (AP) - A federal judge charged with fondling a court employee and trying to force her into a sexual act has pleaded innocent to new charges brought by a second woman.

Kent was arraigned on Wednesday, a day after a federal grand jury in Houston added three new charges to the indictment it issued in August that accuses him of making unwanted sexual advances toward his former court case manager.

The new charges - aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact and obstruction of justice - allege Kent tried to force a second court employee into a sexual act and lied about it to investigators.

Roxy said...

Newly constituted - yes but the judge presiding over this court is repiblican

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Good point, Roxy. This was definitely in the works before the November elections.

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