Procedural Justice and the Mental Health Court Judge's Role in Reducing Recidivism

Georgetown University Law Center, United States.
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.19). 09/2010; 33(4):265-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2010.06.009
Source: PubMed


Based on qualitative observation and quantitative data from eight mental health courts (MHCs), this article argues that observed reductions in recidivism from participation in MHC are caused in part by the role of the judge in conveying elements of procedural justice. Specifically, the judge provides: (1) a heightened level of interpersonal treatment of participants that accords them dignity, respect, and voice; (2) accountability for participants and service providers alike; and (3) transparency for decisions reached through an open negotiation process. Procedural justice theory predicts that participants will thereby be more likely to see legal decisions as legitimate and incorporate the court's values and goals as their own. Preliminary qualitative and quantitative data are presented from interviews of a sample of participants in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia's Mental Health Diversion Court (DCMHDC) that support these hypotheses. DCMHDC participants hold strongly positive views about the procedural justice they receive from their court experience and of the judge's role in providing justice.

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Available from: Virginia Aldigé Hiday, Oct 27, 2014
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    • "es to justify court processes or procedures . Instead , they emphasized practical and humanitarian concerns and reasoned that punishing persons with a mental illness for offenses that arise from the mental illness has not reduced recidivism and has led to inhumane and costly incarceration . However , with its procedural justice and voluntariness ( Wales et al . , 2010 ) , an ob - server would likely categorize the program and procedures of this study ' s MHC as embodying therapeutic jurisprudence principles and would expect therapeutic outcomes for its graduates . One could argue that MHC graduation itself is therapeutic because it represents having received a " full dose " of the MHC program with it"
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    ABSTRACT: Mental health courts (MHCs), nontraditional problem-solving courts designed to address underlying causes of offending rather than apportion guilt and punishment, have been reported to reduce offending among persons with mental illness and consequently have been spreading. Graduation from a MHC has been found to be a major predictor of reduced recidivism; yet few studies have examined factors affecting MHC graduation. This study examines what participants brought to MHC, their processing in MHC, and their behaviors during MHC. It found that noncompliant participant behaviors during MHC had the strongest impact on graduation, increasing the odds of failure to graduate and reducing, if not eliminating, the direct effects on completion of the risk factors participants brought into court. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
    Psychology Public Policy and Law 05/2014; 20(2-2):191-199. DOI:10.1037/law0000008 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    • "Other than duration of MHC and jail days during MHC, there is no measure of defendant reception of the specific program components, such as medication, therapeutic group, and sanctions; thus, we do not know how each affects MHC's impact. Finally, the current study is only of a single site, so neither specific program components nor organizational procedures , such as procedural justice (Wales et al., 2010), reintegrative shaming (Peters & Osher, 2004), and the role of MHC team members (Castellano, 2011), can be evaluated in comparison with other courts; thus generalizability of its findings is limited. On the other hand, single court studies, because of their differences in eligibility, procedures, program components, resources, and community environment, provide important independent tests for the MHC model. "
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    ABSTRACT: There are now more than 300 mental health courts in the United States; yet studies on their effectiveness in reducing criminal recidivism are relatively few, and most follow defendants after entry into the court, during their participation, and sometimes, for a short period following exit. Using a preenrollment-postexit design that follows participants of one mental health court for 2 years after exit, this article examines criminal recidivism of participants after they no longer receive the court’s services, supervision, and support. It investigates participant demographic, clinical, and criminal history and key arrest characteristics as well as process measures and graduation as predictors of two measures of recidivism, arrests, and postexit jail days. Its findings support the hypothesis that mental health courts can reduce criminal recidivism postexit and point to criminal history, time in mental health court, and graduation as the main influences on recidivism.
    American Behavioral Scientist 02/2013; 57(2-2):189-208. DOI:10.1177/0002764212465416 · 0.69 Impact Factor
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    • "hold participants and treatment providers accountable for following through with agreed upon plans , have the status needed to bring multiple players together for collaborative planning , and can give voice and validation to participants who may never have experienced that type of support in either the mental health or crimi - nal justice system ( Wales et al . , 2010 ) . A question that remains is whether frequent interactions over time , strong rap - port , and encouragement and praise produce independent effects on participants ' outcomes , or if additional elements of the court structure are necessary for suc - cess . Research on a related intervention , involuntary outpatient commitment ( court "
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    ABSTRACT: health courts (MHCs) represent a rapidly flourishing partnership between the mental health and criminal justice systems. No article to date has critically examined this new form of specialty court from the lens of the mental health system. This article will describe and evaluate MHCs against a comprehensive set of criteria that define an ideal mental health intervention, including theoretical, empirical, values-based, and pragmatic considerations. The discussion begins with the framework for identifying evidence-based practices in mental health and continues with an examination of the current evidence related to each of nine criteria of an ideal mental health intervention. In some respects, MHCs appear to offer a promising addition to mental health and criminal justice systems; however, the fast growth of MHCs across the nation may have outpaced their theoretical and empirical support.
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