Strengthening connections among criminal justice agencies, behavioral health organizations, and the community to improve wellbeing for people with mental health conditions or co-occurring substance use disorders.

Mental Health Courts: A Primer for Policymakers and Practitioners

This primer from the Council of State Governments Justice Center, supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, provides the first comprehensive introduction to the specialty court model, in which individuals with mental illnesses are linked to treatment and receive treatment services while under court supervision. In the late 1990s only a handful of mental health courts were in operation; at the time of the report's publication more than 200 such courts had been established in large and small jurisdictions across the country. The primer describes mental health courts' goals and processes, summarizes research findings about their effectiveness, identifies issues to be considered in designing them, and lists resources for jurisdictions interested in starting such programs, including sources of grants and other funding, training and technical support centers, written policy guides, and websites.

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