Evaluating Mental Health Court by Impact on Jurisdictional Crime Rates

Chelsea Elizabeth Bullard, Ron Thrasher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mental health courts are relatively new to the scenes of therapeutic jurisprudence and problem-solving courts. Research is necessary to determine how to evaluate this unique subset of courts and their clients. This research uses a mixed methodology to develop grounded theories explaining the differences found in more successful courts whose jurisdiction saw a statistically significant decrease in crime rate after the mental health court was established and less successful courts that did not. Eleven Oklahoma-based mental health courts were researched. More successful courts prioritized intensive monitoring methods, multiple specially tailored treatment options, and additional program supports. More successful courts also used a diverse court team, emphasized proper program assessment, visibly divided compliant and noncompliant participants in court, and gave “tangible symbolic incentives.” The found successful theories were compared with the published Essential Elements of a Mental Health Court and Cesare Beccaria’s Essay on Crimes and Punishment for possible future validation efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-246
Number of pages20
JournalCriminal Justice Policy Review
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • drug courts
  • mental health courts
  • problem-solving courts
  • specialty courts
  • tangible symbolic incentives
  • therapeutic jurisprudence

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