The Effectiveness of Mental Health Courts in Reducing Recidivism and Police Contact: A Systematic Review

Desmond Loong, Sarah Bonato, Jan Barnsley, Carolyn S Dewa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Mental health courts were created to help criminal defendants who have a mental illness that significantly contributes to their criminal offense. The purpose of this systematic literature review is to assess the current evidence to address the question, "How effective are mental health courts in reducing recidivism and police contact?" Systematic literature searches of eight electronic databases were performed. A total of 2590 unique citations were identified. Of these, 20 studies were included in the final analysis. The results of this systematic review suggest there is some evidence to show that mental health courts help to reduce recidivism rates, but the effect on police contact is less clear. Results also suggest case managers or access to vocational and housing services may be important components of effective mental health courts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1098
Number of pages26
JournalCommunity mental health journal
Volume55
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Keywords

  • Justice system
  • Mental health courts
  • Mental illness
  • Police contact
  • Rearrest
  • Recidivism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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