Mental health courts began as grassroots initiatives in the mid-1990s. Early versions found inspiration from the success of drug courts — an emerging brand of court dedicated to accused with substance addictions. On a very basic level, drug courts operate by offering accused a simple option: avoid serving a sentence for your drug-related offence by completing a drug-treatment program.
One of the first known programs to tackle the problem of mentally disordered accused in the criminal justice system was created in Toronto. The "Diversion of Mentally Disordered Accused" became a program which was part of the Crown Policy Manual in 1994. The success of these specialty courts, along with a growing awareness that the traditional criminal justice system was failing individuals with mental disorders, combined to legitimize the emergence of mental health courts.
In writing this book, the authors have sought to assist two groups of professionals involved with these courts--mental health care service providers and the various criminal justice professionals.
Part I of this book is an overview of the historical and theoretical foundations underlying the mental health court movement. It outlines the various factors which precipitated the emergence of these courts. Part II offers a thorough description of a typical mental health court in operation. It describes the role of each mental health court team member and provides guidance to those seeking to establish a mental health court. Part III analyzes the successes and failures of these courts and ends with a critical look at the long-term desirability of mental health courts. --- from the publisher
"This is a practical book, of immediate use to its principal intended audience: those working in mental health court and diversion programs in Canada.... [The] relationship of the criminal justice and mental health systems, and the development of different models of mental health courts, are deftly discussed in the interdisciplinary and theoretical context of the therapeutic jurisprudence perspective. In that respect the book constitutes a major contribution to the therapeutic jurisprudence literature, and its discussion of the Canadian and comparative contexts will be of great interest to the legal and mental health communities in many jurisdictions.
I am confident that it will soon take its place as a leading resource both in Canada and internationally."
- David B. Wexler, Lyons Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology, University of Arizona; Professor of Law and Director, International Network on Therapeutic Jurisprudence, University of Puerto Rico
Table of Contents:
CHAPTER 1: Introduction
PART I: THE EMERGENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH COURTS
CHAPTER 2: Historical Foundations
CHAPTER 3: Theoretical Foundations: Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Problem Solving Courts
PART II: THE OPERATION OF A MENTAL HEALTH COURT
CHAPTER 4: The Operation and Functioning of a Mental Health Court
CHAPTER 5: The Role of a Mental Health Practitioner in a Mental Health Court
CHAPTER 6: Establishing a Mental Health Court
PART III: THE SUCCESS OF MENTAL HEALTH COURTS AND THEIR FUTURE
CHAPTER 7: Efficacy of Mental Health Courts
CHAPTER 8: The Future of Mental Health Courts and the Responsible Use of Resources
CHAPTER 9: Conclusion
Table of Cases
About the Authors:
Hon. Richard D. Schneider
Ontario Court of Justice
The Honourable Richard D. Schneider presides at Toronto's Mental Health Court. He is also a clinical psychologist.
University of Toronto
Dr. Hy Bloom is a forensic pyschiatrist and lawyer who assesses individuals who have mental illnesses and outstanding criminal charges.
Mark Heerema is a lawyer and legal scholar on his way to Cambridge, England, to pursue graduate studies in law.