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
    • "Completion of a MHC program usually results in a reduction or dismissal of the index criminal charges that led to the MHC referral. MHC participants have described their MHC experience in positive terms and perceive meaningful differences from traditional court environments, which tend to be more adversarial in nature (Lane & Campbell, 2008;Redlich, Hoover, Summers, & Steadman, 2010;Wales, Hiday, & Ray, 2010). With regard to mental health recovery outcomes, MHC evaluations have generally produced positive findings. "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study examined the impact of a mental health court (MHC) on mental health recovery, criminogenic needs, and recidivism in a sample of 196 community-based offenders with mental illness. Using a pre-post design, mental health recovery and criminogenic needs were assessed at the time of MHC referral and discharge. File records were reviewed to score the Level of Service/Risk-Need-Responsivity instrument (Andrews, Bonta, & Wormith, 2008) to capture criminogenic needs, and a coding guide was used to extract mental health recovery information at each time point. Only mental health recovery data were available at 12 months post-MHC involvement. Recidivism (i.e., charges) was recorded from police records over an average follow-up period of 40.67 months post-MHC discharge. Case management adherence to the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model of offender case management was also examined. Small but significant improvements were found for criminogenic needs and some indicators of mental health recovery for MHC completers relative to participants who were prematurely discharged or referred but not admitted to the program. MHC completers had a similar rate of general recidivism (28.6%) to cases not admitted to MHC and managed by the traditional criminal justice system (32.6%). However, MHC case plans only moderately adhered to the RNR model. Implications of these results suggest that the RNR model may be an effective case management approach for MHCs to assist with decision-making regarding admission, supervision intensity, and intervention targets, and that interventions in MHC contexts should attend to both criminogenic and mental health needs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Law and Human Behavior
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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)
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Psychology Public Policy and Law
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · American Behavioral Scientist
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