Original Article

Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 323-331

First online:

Mental Health Court Outcomes by Offense Type at Admission

  • Bradley RayAffiliated withSchool of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Email author 
  • , Sheryl Pimlott KubiakAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, Michigan State University
  • , Erin B. ComartinAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice, Oakland University
  • , Elizabeth TillanderAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, Michigan State University

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Using a statewide database of mental health court (MHC) defendants, this study examines criminal justice outcomes by target arrest offense type. Findings suggest that defendants with a felony are less likely to complete MHC but those who do are at no greater risk of recidivism post-exit than those with a misdemeanor. In terms of jail days, both completers and noncompleters with a felony had reductions in jail days; however, misdemeanor defendants, especially those who did not complete MHC, had increases. We discuss why MHC supervision may sometimes have a negative effect and offer recommendations on how courts might modify supervision.


Mental health court Recidivism Offense type Specialty courts