The Evolution of Mental Health Courts and a Prospective Study of Aggregate Recidivism Rates for Mentally Ill Criminal Offenders
In response to the alarming rate of serious mental illness among incarcerated individuals, local communities have operationalized the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence and forged collaborations between the criminal justice and mental health communities. Over 300 specialized mental health courts have emerged across the country since 1997. Yet, given the short life span and disjointed manner in which mental health courts developed, there is little empirical research evaluating outcomes. Methodological flaws in existing studies and inconsistent results prevent strength of conclusions.
This paper aims to facilitate greater understanding about the evolution of mental health courts, perceived advantages and disadvantages, and the current state of research. Additionally, a prospective study is designed using the synthetic control method to measure aggregate recidivism rates of mentally ill criminal offenders.
mental health court
outcome measures for mentally ill offenders
synthetic control method
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