Support for Mental Health Courts

Adopted at the 120th Annual Conference

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

October 23, 2013

 

Support for Mental Health Courts

Submitted by:  Private Sector Liaison Committee

PSLC.002.t13

 

WHEREAS, the National Institute of Corrections estimates as many as two million men and women with mental health disorders are involved with the United States criminal justice system; and

 

WHEREAS, the high incarceration rates of mentally ill offenders have financial implications for U.S. citizens; and

 

WHEREAS, mental health disorders are often associated with substance abuse and crime; and

 

WHEREAS, research shows that more than half of all prison and jail inmates were found to have mental health disorders; and

 

WHEREAS, research also shows that offenders with mental health disorders tend to serve longer prison sentences and are at higher risk of recidivating; and

 

WHEREAS, key stakeholders, practitioners, and policymakers around the nation have collaborated to support Mental Health Court initiatives; and

 

WHEREAS, a mental health court is a special docket in criminal court designed to divert mentally ill offenders out of the criminal justice system and into mental health treatment while at the same time ensuring public safety ; and

 

WHEREAS, the primary goal of Mental Health Courts across the nation is to reduce recidivism and substance abuse among offenders by successfully treating the offender’s mental illness and substance abuse issues; and

 

WHEREAS, research shows that Mental Health Courts successfully reduce recidivism and violence by individuals with mental disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system; now, therefore, be it

 

RESOLVED, that by this Resolution, the International Association of Chiefs of Police supports the national efforts of establishing Mental Health Courts to reduce recidivism, to provide treatment for mentally ill offenders, and to reduce jail costs, while ensuring public safety.