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Mental Health Courts

Mental health courts (MHCs) are specialty courts designed to divert adults with mental illnesses from jail into behavioral health services. At any given time, the large and growing number of persons with mental illnesses in jails and prisons and under community supervision arrangements (i.e., probation and parole) presents significant challenges to mental health and criminal justice authorities. Persons with mental illnesses in the justice system have high rates of substance use disorders and chronic physical health problems and often have difficulty accessing health and behavioral health services, safe and adequate housing, and employment upon release from jail or prison. As a result, persons with mental illnesses have higher recidivism and probation revocation rates compared to justice-involved persons without mental illnesses.

A variety of interventions at the ...

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