Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Mental Health Courts Program

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BJA-Funded Justice and Mental Health Resources

Technical Assistance
The Council of State Governments (CSG), coordinator of the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project, will continue to provide technical assistance to BJA Mental Health Court Program grantees planning, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining their Mental Health Courts. In addition, they will provide similar assistance to nongrantee mental health courts and to other court-based initiatives to improve the response to people with mental illness in the criminal justice system. The focus of this year's technical assistance will be on helping court-based initiatives fully integrate their activities with other similar programs in the jurisdiction. To achieve this goal, CSG will make available the following forms of support:

  • Convene a national conference for court-based programs to improve the response to people with mental illness including mental health courts.
  • Maintain a web site dedicated to mental health courts, which also serves as a clearinghouse of information for anyone working in the criminal justice system seeking to improve the response to people with mental illness in the justice system.
  • Provide onsite and offsite technical assistance to grantees and nongrantees.
  • Develop a network of demonstration mental health courts, which will provide peer-to-peer support for courts seeking to improve their response to this population.
  • Coordinate technical assistance efforts with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and its TAPA and GAINS Centers for technical assistance to provide assistance on mental health services and jail diversion strategies. This includes support for the Judges Leadership Initiative, which seeks to build leadership in the judiciary to effectively address the community and consumer needs of those with mental illness in the criminal justice system.
  • Develop and disseminate a written product identifying and explaining the essential elements of a mental health court.
  • To develop written publications on key issues related to justice and mental health collaboration. Current publications include: What Is a Mental Health Court? (under development); Navigating the Mental Health Maze; and A Guide to Collecting Mental Health Court Outcome Data.

For more information on technical assistance available under this program, visit the Consensus Project website.

Maria Fryer
Policy Advisor

Related Information
The following provide additional information about or related to the Mental Health Courts Program:

Mental Health Courts: A Primer for Policymakers and Practitioners, (NCJ 224316) Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2008. This publication provides the field with a comprehensive overview and history of mental health courts and describes mental health courts' goals and processes, how they differ from drug courts, research findings about their effectiveness, and resources for jurisdictions interested in starting a program.

Mental Health Courts: A Guide to Research-Informed Policy and Practice, (NCJ 228274), Bureau of Justice Assistance, September 2009. This guide helps policy makers and practitioners understand available research to better design, implement, and evaluate mental health courts.

Criminal Justice Interventions for Offenders with Mental Illness: Evaluation of Mental Health Courts in Bronx and Brooklyn, New York, (NCJ 238265) National Institute of Justice-Sponsored. This report presents the findings and methodology of the evaluation of mental health courts in Bronx and Brooklyn (New York City).



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