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Mental health courts

Schneider, Richard D

doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e328305e48e
Forensic psychiatry: Edited by Julio E. Arboleda-Flórez

Purpose of review To describe the aims and objectives of mental health courts. To give an overview of the current literature devoted to mental health courts. To suggest where we might go in the future.

Recent findings While not flawless, mental health courts represent an innovative approach to addressing the needs of individuals within our society who have historically been alienated by both the justice system and the increasingly debilitated and diluted mental healthcare system. New data suggest that mental health courts are efficacious in reducing recidivism rates, reducing substance abuse, and result in reduced costs to governments.

Summary While the early data is encouraging, there is still a great need for further study regarding the efficacy of mental health courts. In particular, we need to know who (along a variety of dimensions) are likely to benefit from participation in mental health courts, of what sort, and under what circumstances.

Faculty of Law/Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence to Richard D. Schneider, Ontario Court of Justice, Old City Hall, 60 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 2M4 Tel: +1 416 327 5836; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.