The Brooklyn Mental Health Court offers community-based treatment in lieu of incarceration to defendants with serious mental health diagnoses.
An on-site clinical team performs detailed psycho-social assessments of each defendant. This information allows the judge to make more informed decisions about defendants. It also enables the court to craft individualized treatment plans for each defendant, matching them to appropriate counseling and service programs.
Every participant is required to return to court regularly to meet with case managers and appear before the judge to report on progress in treatment. This underlines for the defendant the seriousness of the process.
The court uses a broad array of graduated rewards and sanctions to respond to progress and setbacks in treatment, coordinating its responses with treatment providers to help motivate defendants to comply with their individualized treatment plans. Where appropriate, treatment plans are modified to help defendants achieve stability. Regular monitoring of progress in treatment also holds service providers accountable to the judge. Defendants who comply with all treatment mandates have their criminal charges dismissed or reduced.
In addition to grappling with mental health issues, many defendants also must confront homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse, and serious health problems. The Mental Health Court works with a broad network of government and not-for-profit service providers to address these interrelated issues.