>Users:   login   |  register       > email     > people    


Someone to turn to
By Ann Coppola, News Reporter
Published: 02/23/2009

Some one to turn2009feb20 They’re unfortunately referred to as the “frequent fliers” of the criminal justice system. Mentally ill offenders tend to have higher rates of recidivism than any other segment of the incarcerated population in the United States. Non-violent offenders suffering from mental illness in particular commonly cycle in and out of jails for repeated low-level offenses, caught in a pattern the criminal justice system has struggled to correct for decades.

“It’s the revolving door phenomenon,” says Fred Osher, Director of Health Systems and Services Policy for the Council of State Governments Justice Center. “What tends to happen is they’re arrested for a small misdemeanor, they spend time in jail, and are released without any particular linkage to treatment. Before long they’re arrested again, the charges accumulate, and they continue to face higher lengths of sentences.”

To freeze the revolving door, many communities have established programs to divert mentally ill offenders from jail or prison and into treatment, either in hospitals or under community supervision. Now, districts across the country are taking the next step by developing entire mental health courts to focus on those individuals who continue to fall through the cracks.

“Mental health courts have been one of the innovations at the courts level to address this population,” Osher says. “They have been present since the late 90’s but they’ve really taken off in the last several years.”

Similar to drug courts, mental health courts give select offenders the option of a judicially supervised treatment plan in lieu of incarceration. The courts typically employ a case management team of community supervision officers and mental health professionals. Mental health courts generally select low-level, non-violent offenses, although some of the more established courts now deal with felony charges.

The number of mental health courts in the United States has grown from only four in 1997 to more than 175 today, according to estimates from the Council of State Governments. Even with the multiplying trend, there is no national mental health court model. Most of the programs are only a couple of years old and are learning as they go.

“We’re finding that for our participants, quality of life and stabilization of life tends to be the incentive for them to say, ‘I’m going to try this,’” says Stephen Goss, presiding judge of Dougherty Superior Court in Albany, Georgia. Located in one of the poorest congressional districts in the country, Dougherty’s dual mental health and drug court targets people who cycle in and out of jail. Founded in 2002, the court currently has 40 individuals under its supervision on any given day.

“When we hit the 30 month mark we looked back at every case we had, and what we found was our participants prior to the program were averaging 108 days in our jail,” Goss says. “After getting in the mental health court that number dropped down to about 29 days. In addition, 41 percent had not been rearrested. We’ve had some setbacks, but to me if you can say ‘never arrested again’ that’s a great thing.”

Most of the defendants Goss and his team of probation officers and case workers see are already on probation. The court holds hearings to determine if the defendant is regularly taking any required medication and attending medical appointments. Defendants stay under the court’s supervision for an average of 18 to 24 months.

“A mental health court doesn’t cure all problems but at least people feel like they’ve got someone to turn to,” Goss says. “The folks at the jail can say, ‘Judge, we’ve got a guy who’s really off his medicine. He’s on suicide watch and we need to get him to the state hospital. Can you help us?’ And I can get the appropriate orders. Just having these mechanisms in place has been a real help.”

It’s not just the Dougherty sheriffs that are grateful; the appreciation for mental health courts from the corrections field has reached a national level.

“Where I talk to judges from other parts of country, virtually every place there is a mental health court up and running one of the biggest fans is the sheriff and the jail staff,” Goss adds. “They know they’ve become the de facto mental health treatment facility in a lot of communities. So many of the jails and prisons are just full of people suffering from mental illness and the jail staff does the best they can, but they’re just not set up to be mental health treatment providers.”

In Oklahoma, mentally ill offenders have become a burgeoning part of their incarcerated population.

“In my prison system we’ve seen a 300 percent increase in inmates coming into our system with mental health issues over the last ten years,”Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Justin Jones says. “We’re in dire need of more safe cells, observation cells, and more mental health treatment services.”

Oklahoma developed its mental health courts within the past couple of years, and the early results have been promising. There are a handful of mental health courts across the state, including Tulsa, Oklahoma, and McCurtain counties. The Department of Corrections provides a case manager and community supervision officer for each participant.

“One of the reasons that we’re such advocates of mental health courts is without any doubt, the participants were definitely prison bound if not for the mental health court,” Jones explains. “The in-community treatment the courts provide for our non-violent, mentally ill offenders is much better than what we can provide in prison.”

There are 41 participants in the Oklahoma County mental health court and 27 in the Tulsa County program. Even though the labor-intensive programs serve small populations, Jones says the cost savings to the state are definitely worth it.

“It averages us about $2.50 a day to be involved with the mental health courts on my side,” he explains, “and in Oklahoma the average cost for a prison bed is 47 dollars a day. If you look at the funds being spent for community mental health treatment just in my agency alone, we estimate savings of about $100,000 a year for individuals in the program that haven’t recidivated. And that’s just for Oklahoma County.”

Aside from the cost savings, Jones sees the rise in mental health courts as an opportunity to make a dent in the growing national recidivism rate.

“I believe it has the potential to have a bigger impact on recidivism than possibly other specialty courts,” Jones adds, “and I think it’s because of the wrap-around services. Without proper medication and interventions these individuals certainly were going to be rearrested and incarcerated. It is truly a diversionary program.”

Even though mental health courts are relatively still in their infancy, the progress made so far is bringing hope to a lot of communities. From the sheriff to the taxpayer to the families of mentally ill individuals, it seems everyone has a stake in shutting down the revolving doors.

Related Resources:

Quick facts on jails and mental illness

More on the Council of State Government and mental health courts

Latest mental health research in corrections



Comments:

  1. johnb6174 on 10/26/2019:

    illegal movie sites Online Application Social Security Card

  2. johnb6174 on 10/25/2019:

    I am no expert, but I believe you just made an excellent point. You certainly fully understand what you are speaking about, and I can truly get behind that. The Southern Institute

  3. johnb6174 on 10/21/2019:

    Someone Sometimes with visits your blog regularly and recommended it in my experience to read as well. The way of writing is excellent and also the content is top-notch. Thanks for that insight you provide the readers! Change of Address

  4. johnb6174 on 10/12/2019:

    Nice knowledge gaining article. This post is really the best on this valuable topic. Survival Hunting Tips

  5. johnb6174 on 10/10/2019:

    Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject! human edited web directory

  6. johnb6174 on 09/29/2019:

    Great Article it its really informative and innovative keep us posted with new updates. its was really valuable. thanks a lot. wide roller banner

  7. johnb6174 on 09/28/2019:

    I found your this post while searching for information about blog-related research ... It's a good post .. keep posting and updating information. taroko gorge tour from hualien

  8. johnb6174 on 09/25/2019:

    I have bookmarked your blog, the articles are way better than other similar blogs.. thanks for a great blog! hotel hualien taiwan

  9. johnb6174 on 09/25/2019:

    I have bookmarked your blog, the articles are way better than other similar blogs.. thanks for a great blog! hotel hualien taiwan

  10. johnb6174 on 09/23/2019:

    I read that Post and got it fine and informative. Please share more like that... ivoignatov

  11. johnb6174 on 09/23/2019:

    I read that Post and got it fine and informative. Please share more like that... ivo ignatov

  12. johnb6174 on 09/22/2019:

    I gotta favorite this website it seems very helpful . Künstliche pflanze

  13. johnb6174 on 09/18/2019:

    It is imperative that we read blog post very carefully. I am already done it and find that this post is really amazing. Easy auto ship

  14. johnb6174 on 09/16/2019:

    I learn some new stuff from it too, thanks for sharing your information. Microblading courses

  15. johnb6174 on 09/01/2019:

    Great survey, I'm sure you're getting a great response. Ice cream van hire

  16. johnb6174 on 09/01/2019:

    Thanks for sharing the post.. parents are worlds best person in each lives of individual..they need or must succeed to sustain needs of the family. Ice cream van hire

  17. johnb6174 on 08/31/2019:

    Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject! the-garden-of-amahara.tumblr.com

  18. johnb6174 on 08/29/2019:

    I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. harley street microdermabrasion

  19. johnb6174 on 08/28/2019:

    Great post I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this interesting and knowledgeable article. find here

  20. johnb6174 on 08/26/2019:

    I read that Post and got it fine and informative. Please share more like that... find this

  21. johnb6174 on 08/25/2019:

    I am hoping the same best effort from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing skills has inspired me. Cleaning Angels

  22. greenday999 on 08/24/2019:

    Thanks for the wonderful share, great information! best d&d podcasts

  23. yajolos on 08/19/2019:

    Excellent information on your blog, thank you for taking the time to share with us. Amazing insight you have on this, it's nice to find a website that details so much information about different artists. Honeymoon

  24. yajolos on 08/18/2019:

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine. 3rd eye

  25. yajolos on 08/10/2019:

    I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. digital agency

  26. yajolos on 08/09/2019:

    Hello I am so delighted I located your blog, I really located you by mistake, while I was watching on google for something else, Anyways I am here now and could just like to say thank for a tremendous post and a all round entertaining website. Please do keep up the great work. taroko gorge tour

  27. yajolos on 08/07/2019:

    I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. Hamptons architects

  28. regawe on 07/27/2019:

    I like this post,And I guess that they having fun to read this post,they shall take a good site to make a information,thanks for sharing it to me. Happy Grasshopper

  29. regawe on 07/25/2019:

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine. Advertoriale Top Firme Romania

  30. yajolos on 07/17/2019:

    I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. Gothic Clothing

  31. yajolos on 07/17/2019:

    I like this post,And I guess that they having fun to read this post,they shall take a good site to make a information,thanks for sharing it to me. Bournemouth wedding photographer

  32. yajolos on 07/13/2019:

    Thanks for sharing nice information with us. i like your post and all you share with us is uptodate and quite informative, i would like to bookmark the page so i can come here again to read you, as you have done a wonderful job. andrew higginson

  33. yajolos on 07/13/2019:

    Thanks for the post and great tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success.. restaurante em Pirenopolis

  34. yajolos on 07/09/2019:

    i read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and ilike to come again in future.. PopularLocalz

  35. yajolos on 07/06/2019:

    I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information? taroko park

  36. yajolos on 07/06/2019:

    Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include. Eco Races

  37. yajolos on 07/06/2019:

    Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts. Motorhome en Valencia

  38. yajolos on 07/02/2019:

    I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information? custom stage rental in miami

  39. yajolos on 07/02/2019:

    I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information? design garden

  40. greenday999 on 07/01/2019:

    Thanks for the post... I will keep on checking in! Jimmy CEO Mountain View Mulch Mountain View Massage Best Massage In Fresno Driving School Tampa Tampa Massage Windshield Repair Fresno Driving School San Diego Drivers Training Fresno Vallejo Towing Massage Benicia Realtors In Vallejo CA

  41. yajolos on 06/29/2019:

    The post is written in very a good manner and it contains many useful information for me. haulage

  42. yajolos on 06/29/2019:

    Thank you again for all the knowledge you distribute,Good post. I was very interested in the article, it's quite inspiring I should admit. I like visiting you site since I always come across interesting articles like this one.Great Job, I greatly appreciate that.Do Keep sharing! Regards, Kultur

  43. yajolos on 06/25/2019:

    Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts. https://maybomhangphu.com/may-bom-chim-hut-nuoc-thai/

  44. yajolos on 06/23/2019:

    I admit, I have not been on this web page in a long time... however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issues. freight forwarding

  45. yajolos on 06/20/2019:

    I am no expert, but I believe you just made an excellent point. You certainly fully understand what you are speaking about, and I can truly get behind that. Medicare supplement plan G virginia

  46. yajolos on 06/15/2019:

    I read a article under the same title some time ago, but this articles quality is much, much better. How you do this.. Hyper Sonic

  47. yajolos on 06/15/2019:

    I'm glad I found this web site, I couldn't find any knowledge on this matter prior to.Also operate a site and if you are ever interested in doing some visitor writing for me if possible feel free to let me know, i am always look for people to check out my web site. international freight forwarding

  48. yajolos on 06/13/2019:

    Thanks for the post and great tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success.. freight forwarding

  49. yajolos on 06/10/2019:

    I'm glad I found this web site, I couldn't find any knowledge on this matter prior to.Also operate a site and if you are ever interested in doing some visitor writing for me if possible feel free to let me know, i am always look for people to check out my web site. San Diego Injury Lawyer

  50. yajolos on 06/09/2019:

    I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information? commercial concrete contractor Aurora

  51. yajolos on 06/09/2019:

    Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include. mice control

  52. yajolos on 06/08/2019:

    I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business. zhuilu old trail

  53. yajolos on 06/04/2019:

    I admit, I have not been on this web page in a long time... however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issues. beard grooming Salt Lake City

  54. yajolos on 06/02/2019:

    I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business. freight transportation price

  55. yajolos on 05/30/2019:

    I have read your blog it is very helpful for me. I want to say thanks to you. I have bookmark your site for future updates. taroko gorge national park

  56. yajolos on 05/26/2019:

    Excellent information on your blog, thank you for taking the time to share with us. Amazing insight you have on this, it's nice to find a website that details so much information about different artists. Times connection

  57. yajolos on 05/26/2019:

    I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business. SEO9

  58. tivozel on 05/22/2019:

    I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information? hail damage

  59. tivozel on 05/21/2019:

    I'm glad I found this web site, I couldn't find any knowledge on this matter prior to.Also operate a site and if you are ever interested in doing some visitor writing for me if possible feel free to let me know, i am always look for people to check out my web site. gutter contractors near me

  60. tivozel on 05/19/2019:

    i read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and ilike to come again in future.. https://www.timdhodges.ca/digital-marketing/search-engine-optimization/

  61. tivozel on 05/18/2019:

    I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business. anime clothes

  62. tora on 05/15/2019:

    I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day! Happy Koala SEO Agency

  63. tora on 05/15/2019:

    This blog is so nice to me. I will keep on coming here again and again. Visit my link as well.. Shinken Publications

  64. gonevumo on 05/09/2019:

    Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include. Activate Press

  65. gonevumo on 05/06/2019:

    Thanks for sharing nice information with us. i like your post and all you share with us is uptodate and quite informative, i would like to bookmark the page so i can come here again to read you, as you have done a wonderful job. fire retardant spray for fabric

  66. gonevumo on 05/05/2019:

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. times connection

  67. gonevumo on 05/04/2019:

    Very interesting blog. Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definately interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know. my conveyancing specialist

  68. gonevumo on 04/30/2019:

    The post is written in very a good manner and it contains many useful information for me. Software

  69. gonevumo on 04/27/2019:

    This blog is so nice to me. I will keep on coming here again and again. Visit my link as well.. best wordpress seo plugin


Login to let us know what you think

User Name:   

Password:       


Forgot password?





correctsource logo




Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of The Corrections Connection User Agreement
The Corrections Connection ©. Copyright 1996 - 2020 © . All Rights Reserved | 15 Mill Wharf Plaza Scituate Mass. 02066 (617) 471 4445 Fax: (617) 608 9015