The first mental health court in New York City, the Brooklyn Mental Health Court seeks to craft meaningful responses to defendants with mental illness. Addressing both treatment needs and public safety concerns, the court links defendants who have serious and persistent mental illnesses (such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) or Neurodevelopmental disorders (such as Autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, and ADHD) who would ordinarily be jail- or prison-bound to long-term treatment in the community.
The Brooklyn Mental Health Court represents the Center for Court Innovation's commitment to offering treatment rather than incarceration to people with mental illness who have been convicted of a crime. In 2019, the court commemorated the graduation of its thousandth successful participant.
This study examines the validity of the COMPAS with offenders who have a serious mental illness. A widely used risk-needs assessment tool, the COMPAS was found to be a good predictor of re-arrest with this population, although it was more effective in distinguishing low-risk offenders from all others than in identifying those who pose a medium as opposed to a high risk of re-arrest. Overall, approximately two-thirds of study-participants were classified as low risk.
In this article, mental health court graduation, in-program jail sanctions, and rearrest were tracked for 654 participants in the Brooklyn Mental Health Court. In general, risk factors for negative outcomes included a prior history of arrest or incarceration, having current property charges, current unemployment, homelessness at time of intake, and having a co-occurring substance use disorder.
Judge Stephanie L. Rhoades, who helped found and has presided over the Anchorage Mental Health Court since 1998, and Kathi R. Trawver, associate professor of the School of Social Work at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, discuss the court's origins, accomplishments and lessons.
This Urban Institute evaluation of two mental health courts in New York City finds that mental health court participants are significantly less likely to recidivate, as compared to similar offenders with mental illness who experience business-as-usual court processing.
An examination of factors associated with program compliance and recidivism in the Brooklyn Mental Health Court, this report documents that prior criminal history and having a co-occurring substance disorder predict noncompliance, mental health court failure, and re-arrest.