Mental Health Court
Mental health courts in Michigan have been established since
the late 2000s.
The State Court Administrative
Office (SCAO) funded eight pilot mental health court programs from fiscal year
2009 through fiscal year 2013.
year 2014, mental health courts expanded, totaling 20 active programs (17 adult
and 3 juvenile), while several jurisdictions are in the planning stages.
Mental health court programs have reported
favorable outcomes as cited in the Michigan Problem-Solving Courts Performance and Outcomes Report
published by SCAO.
This report documents
that 46 percent of participants successfully completed the program.
Of those that completed the program 36
percent improved their employment status, 47 percent improved their educational
level, 95 percent improved their quality of life, 97 improved their mental
health, and 84 percent were compliant with medication. Additionally, mental
health court participants had a lower recidivism rate 12 months after admission
into the program when compared to the comparison group members.
The recidivism rate for the mental health
court participants was 4 percent, compared to the recidivism rate for the
comparison group at 22 percent.
more telling, 4 years after admission, mental health court participants
convicted of a new offense was 34 percent, while the comparison group members
convicted of a new offense was 59 percent.
Mental health court is modeled after drug court and was developed
in response to the overrepresentation of people with mental illnesses in the
criminal justice system. Mental health
court diverts select defendants with mental illness into judicially-supervised,
community-based treatment. Defendants
are invited to participate following a specialized screening and assessment,
and they may choose to decline participation.
For those who agree to the terms and conditions of community-based
supervision, a team of court staff and mental health professionals work
together to develop treatment plans and supervise participants in the
community. Participants appear at
regular status hearings during which incentives are offered to encourage
adherence to court conditions, sanctions for nonadherence are handed down, and
treatment plans and other conditions are periodically reviewed for
appropriateness (Council of State Governments, 2005). [Huddleston & Marlowe, National Drug Court
Institute and United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance,
Painting the Current Picture: A National Report on Drug Courts and Other
Problem-Solving Court Programs in the United States (July 2011, p 45).]
The concept of mental health court has been a topic of
discussion since the mid l980s.
in l997 Broward County, Florida, was recognized and published as the first
“specialized” mental health court.
Programs differ widely in eligibility criteria, the way cases are
processed, the way treatment is provided, and the way cases are disposed upon
discharge from the program.
numerous ways to structure a mental health court; however, a successful program
requires partnership and collaboration between the local court and the community
mental health services program.
Furthermore, grant-funded courts in Michigan are required to target
individuals with a serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, or a
developmental disability as defined by MCL 330.1100
For more information, see the subsection about the Michigan Mental Health Court
*Mental health court overview adapted from A Guide to Mental Health Court Design and
Implementation, a publication of the Council of State Governments prepared
for the Bureau of Justice Assistance. May 2005.
Michigan Mental Health Court Grant Program
The State Court Administrative Office provides funding
assistance to courts through its Michigan Mental Health Court Program.
Eligible applicants include trial courts partnering with the
Community Mental Health Services Program (CMHSP) through a single joint
application. Applications must reflect a
partnership and collaboration between the court and CMHSP. Proposed programs must target individuals who
have a serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, or a
developmental disability as defined by MCL 330.1100, and the severe nature of
the mental illness or functional impairment necessitates intensive clinical
services. Additionally, programs must commence
postarraignment in order to meet the MMHCGP funding eligibility requirements. Adult and juvenile programs are eligible for
funding and are required to follow the Essential
Elements of a Mental Health Court.
Regional Mental Health Court Grant Program
Grants are limited to jurisdictions that have completed a
planning phase of their regional mental health court program and are seeking
funds for the first year of operation.
The funds should enable the regional mental health court program to
promote public safety, quickly identify and link participants to community
services to reduce reliance on incarceration and recidivism among the mentally
ill, and establish monitoring and evaluation measures that will demonstrate the
effectiveness of the program.
Regional mental health courts are distinguished from other
mental health courts by the number of geographically distinct jurisdictions
participating in a single joint program.
Below are examples of regional mental health court designs.
Two or more circuit courts participating in a
single regional mental health court.
Two or more district courts from different
counties participating in a single regional mental health court.
One or more district courts and one or more
circuit courts, from different counties, participating in a single regional
mental health court.
Regional mental health courts receive one grant award and
one contract, have one coordinator that oversees the entire region, and have
one program design that is applicable to all participants in the regional
mental health court, even if the regional mental health court has multiple
locations. The program must have one
joint local administrative order covering all participating courts in the
regional program and one memorandum of understanding covering all
organizations. Data collections and
grant reporting should reflect the program as a whole, rather than reflecting
separate locations of the program. One
set of grant reports should be submitted for the regional mental health court
and one dashboard of data should be submitted to the State Court Administrative
Michigan Mental Health Court Minimum Data Standards
Pursuant to MCL 600.1099
, each mental health court is required to collect and provide data on each
individual applicant and participant and the entire program as required by the
State Court Administrative Office.
SCAO has prepared the following minimum standard data sets.
The reported data will be used in preparing
the annual Michigan Problem-Solving Courts Performance and Outcomes report.