May 18, 2010

Evaluation on Mental Health Courts in Texas shows promising results

Representing the Mentally Ill Offender
An evaluation of Advocacy Alternatives

By the Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense, Office of Court Administration

In the study researchers hypothesized that mental health courts provide positive outcomes on the following:
Pre‐disposition jail days
Mental health treatment engagement
Case disposition
Recidivism rates

What they found for those participating in mental health courts in Texas was that there were significant increases in long-term treatment engagement for all diagnoses, large statistically significant reductions in the chance of a guilty verdict, and they achieved statistically significant reductions in recidivism up to 18 months after case disposition. There were no statistically significant differences in pre-trial jail days.

**Results are based on all individuals who enrolled in the program including both successful and unsuccessful terminations. This is the most objective measurement approach as it reflects outcomes for everyone intended to benefit from the program – not just those who actually achieved positive results.

If you would like to read the entire report, please see PDF.

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