Mental Health Courts

Juvenile mental health courts are delinquency courts with a dedicated calendar for minors who have a mental health diagnosis. These courts focus on providing access to treatment, consistent and intensive supervision, and academic and family support. As with juvenile drug court, these courts focus on accountability and realistic goals and expectations of each youth. Assessment and close monitoring are critical components of this type of court.

Mental health courts first emerged in the 1990s. In California, there are more than 40 mental health courts, including 11 juvenile mental health courts. Studies of mental health courts have shown promising results in several areas, including participants’ utilization of services, reduced recidivism, and cost savings to counties and states.


Links

California Department of Health Care Services/Mental Health Services

California Mental Health Directors Association

Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO)

Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues


Resources

Screenings and Assessments Used in the Juvenile Justice System - Evaluating Risks and Needs of Youth in the Juvenile Justice System (February 2011)
An overview of screening and assessment instruments, including a summary of issues related to instrument validation, selection, and administration.

Screenings and Assessments Used in the Juvenile Justice System - Juvenile Mental Health Screenings and Assessments (February 2011)
An overview of screening and assessment instruments used to detect mental health problems in juveniles entering the delinquency system.

Screenings and Assessments Used in the Juvenile Justice System - Juvenile Risk and Needs Screenings and Assessments (December 2011)
An overview of risk and needs instruments used in California’s juvenile justice system.

Screenings and Assessments Used in the Juvenile Justice System: Tools for Assessing Sexual Recidivism Risk
(December 2012)
The briefing provides an overview of the prevalence of juvenile sexual offending, recidivism rates, and recent changes to state and federal legislation that apply to juveniles who have committed sexual offenses.

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