Mental Health Court
Welcome to the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Mental Health Court program. The mission is to provide a court-supervised treatment-based program for individuals who have pending misdemeanor or felony charges and who have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness or intellectual disability as their primary diagnosis. The program is composed of a team of diverse professionals and community leaders who coordinate services to support an individual throughout their recovery. It is a therapeutic based program which provides case management, therapy, and other wrap around services to enhance treatment for the mental health diagnosis, substance use disorder, and/or vocational rehab. Engagement in all aspects of therapy help to improve the defendants’ overall quality of life by promoting independent living ultimately increasing public safety and reducing crime. After successfully completing the program, the participant will have developed the skills needed to live a more productive and crime-free life within the community.
Individuals can enter Mental Health Court four different ways:
- Entering Mental Health Court by way of Incompetent to Proceed or Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. Defendants who are adjudicated incompetent to proceed in their criminal case or are found not guilty by reason of insanity can be placed on conditional release and ordered into mental health court as an added condition.
- Diversion to Mental Health Court upon entering a plea. Once a defendant successfully completes the program or graduates from Mental Health Court, their criminal charges are dismissed. The diversion program will last at least a year for felony cases, and six months on a misdemeanor case. If a defendant does not successfully complete the program, the presiding judge can proceed to sentencing.
- Mental Health Court as a condition of probation. To enter Mental Health Court as a condition of probation, the sentencing judge in the case must sentence the defendant to probation with a special condition that the defendant comply with all program requirements and successfully complete the program. Once a defendant graduates from Mental Health Court, the criminal charges are not dismissed, but early termination of probation can be considered. If the defendant does not successfully complete Mental Health Court, a violation of probation can be filled in the case.
- Mental Health Court as a condition of bond. A judge may order that a defendant participate in Mental Health Court as a condition of bond. This gives a defendant more supervision as their case proceeds through traditional court. This is not a disposition of the case, but a condition of release.
If you are a defendant who is interested in Mental Health Court and believe you may be eligible to participate in the program, please consult with your lawyer.