What Happens to Mental Health Court Noncompleters?


Mental health court (MHC) research consistently finds that defendants who successfully complete and graduate from the court are less likely to recidivate than those who do not. However, research has not assessed what happens to these noncompleters once they are sent back to traditional court. Using follow-up data on six years of noncompleters from pre-adjudication MHC, we examine what happens to these defendants in traditional court. Findings suggest that 63.7% of defendants' charges were dismissed, 21.0% received probation, and 15.3% were sentenced to incarceration. We examine the time to disposition and differences in defendant characteristics and disposition outcome as well as the relationship between disposition and subsequent recidivism. Results suggest that more severe punishments in traditional court are associated with recidivism. Logistic regression analysis shows that defendants whose charges were dismissed in traditional court were less likely to recidivate than those who were sentenced to probation or incarceration. Our findings highlight the need for future MHC evaluations to consider traditional court outcomes and support trends towards post-adjudication courts.

DOI: 10.1002/bsl.2163

Cite this paper

@article{Ray2015WhatHT, title={What Happens to Mental Health Court Noncompleters?}, author={Bradley Ray and Brittany J Hood and Kelli E. Canada}, journal={Behavioral sciences & the law}, year={2015}, volume={33 6}, pages={801-14} }