Recognition and understanding of goals and roles: The key internal features of mental health court teams

Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA.
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.19). 11/2011; 34(6):406-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2011.10.005
Source: PubMed


The increasing involvement of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system has led to the formation of specialty programs such as mental health courts (hereafter MHCs). We discuss MHCs and the teams serving these courts. Specifically, we examine team members' perceptions of MHC goals and their own and others' roles on the MHC team. Using a semi-structured interview instrument, we conducted 59 face-to-face interviews with criminal justice and mental health treatment personnel representing 11 Ohio MHCs. Findings from our qualitative data analyses reveal that MHC personnel understand individuals' roles within the teams, recognize and appreciate the importance of different roles, and share common goals. MHCs could foster this level of understanding and agreement by working to recruit and retain individuals with experience in or willingness to learn about both the criminal justice and mental health systems. Future research should explore the impact of MHC team functioning on client outcomes.

Download full-text


Available from: Jennifer L S Teller, Jun 04, 2014
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mental health courts (MHCs) are problem-solving courts that attempt to redirect individuals with mental illness into treatment rather than incarceration (Wolff, 200365. Wolff , N. ( 2003 ). Courting the court: Courts as agents for treatment and justice . In W.H. Fisher (Ed.), Community-based interventions for criminal offenders of severe mental illness , (pp. 143 – 197 ). Oxford , UK : Elsevier Science . [CrossRef]View all references). The primary purpose of this article is to provide a narrative review of recent evidence on the empirical status of MHCs and suggest directions for future social work research. Such a review is critical given the existence of 300 MHCs in the United States (Council of State Governments Justice Center, 201113. Council of State Governments Justice Center . ( 2011 ). Mental health courts. Retrieved from View all references) with more in development. Four major questions guided our review: (a) How do they work? (b) Does a theoretical basis exist to explain how they work? (c) What is the nature of the evidence? and (d) What are the characteristics of the mentally ill who choose not to participate in MHC programs and of those who are negatively terminated? Though studies have shown reductions in assessed outcomes, a lack of methodologically strong evaluations significantly limits the strength of those results. There exists a need for additional, methodologically rigorous studies to better understand the effectiveness of MHCs.
    01/2013; 3(1):34-55. DOI:10.1080/1936928X.2013.837416
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: Mandated community treatment has been proposed as a mechanism to engage people with severe and persistent mental disorders in treatment. Recently, two approaches to mandate treatment through the courts have been highlighted: assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) and mental health court programs. This study examined levels of perceived coercion, procedural justice, and the impact of the program (mental health court or AOT) among participants in a community treatment system. Methods: Data were analyzed from interviews with former AOT participants who were no longer under court supervision (N=17) and with graduates of a mental health court program (N=35). The MacArthur Admission Experience Survey, created to measure perceived coercion, procedural justice, and program impact on hospital admission, was modified to include judges and case managers. Results: Mental health court graduates perceived significantly less coercion and more procedural justice in their interactions with the judge than did AOT participants. No significant difference was found between mental health court and AOT participants in perceptions of procedural justice in interactions with their case managers. Mental health court participants felt more respected and had more positive feelings about the program than did AOT participants. Conclusions: Both mental health courts and AOT programs have potentially coercive aspects. Findings suggest that judges and case managers can affect participants' perceptions of these programs by the degree to which they demonstrate procedural justice, a process that may affect the long-term effects of the programs on individuals.
    Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) 09/2013; 65(3). DOI:10.1176/ · 2.41 Impact Factor