Mental Health Courts: Current State of the Science

Mental Health Court

Mental Health Courts: Current State of the Science

Although there is promising evidence on recidivism, the lack of national standards and and differences in eligibility criteria makes cross jurisdictional comparisons difficult.

 

  • New mental health courts are being created rapidly around the country. However, the research on these problem-solving courts is advancing at a much slower pace.
  • Honegger (2015) conducted a recent research review yielding 20 articles from peer-reviewed journals. The review cites a few key findings:
    • Most studies report favorable recidivism outcomes for mental health court participants, although studies rarely evaluate therapeutic outcomes.
    • Most studies on mental health courts continue to suffer from methodological limitations, non-representative samples, lack of experimental design, and short assessment timeframes.
    • The lack of national standards for mental health courts and differences in eligibility criteria makes cross jurisdictional comparisons difficult.
References: 

Honegger, L.N. (2015). Does the evidence support the case for mental health courts? A review of the literature. Law and Human Behavior, 39, 478-488. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/lhb0000141