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​Mental Health Court


Mental health court is modeled after drug court and 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 works together to develop treatment plans and supervise participants in the community. Participants appear at regular status hearings during which incentives are offered to reward adherence to court conditions, sanctions for non-adherence 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 is fairly new, and the 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. There are numerous ways to structure a mental health court; however, a successful program requires partnership and collaboration between the local court and a community mental health service program. Furthermore, grant-funded courts in Michigan are required to target adults with mental illnesses as defined in MCL 330.1100a(2)(20). For more information, see the subsection about the Michigan Mental Health Court Grant Program.


*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 (SCAO) and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) have established a collaborative partnership to provide funding assistance for pilot mental health courts through its Michigan Mental Health Court Grant Program (MMHCGP).


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 adults with an Axis 1 Thought or Mood Disorder or a Developmental Disability as defined in MCL 330.1100a(2)(20). In addition, the program must operate post-arraignment. 



Michigan Mental Health Court Minimum Data Standards

Recipients of funding under the Michigan Mental Health Court Grant Program (MMHCGP), will be required to provide SCAO with the specified minimum standard of data, and participate in evaluation activities facilitated by SCAO and MDCH.