The mental health court is the newest venue for rerouting persons with mental illness from the criminal justice system to the treatment system. Mental health courts share with drug courts the mission of offering therapeutic alternatives to jail. But their success, however, depends on the nature of the illnesses to which they attempt to treat, the strength of the connection between those illnesses and criminal behavior, and the effectiveness of treatment as a deterrent. To explore these connections, mental health courts are assessed through the lens of therapeutic jurisprudence. From theoretical and practical perspectives, mental health courts are found to have substantial limitations in terms of their potential impact on criminal behavior and incarceration of people with mental illness. Serious concerns about fairness are also raised. An alternative strategy for judicial intervention on behalf of offenders with mental illness is suggested.
Wolff, N. (2002), "Courting the court: courts as agents for treatment and justice", Fisher, W. (Ed.) Community-Based Interventions for Criminal Offenders with Severe Mental Illness (Research in Community and Mental Health, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 143-197. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0192-0812(03)80021-1Download as .RIS
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