Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 545–548 | Cite as

Forensic Mental Illness and Other Policy Misadventures. Commentary on “Extending Assertive Community Treatment to Criminal Justice Settings: Origins, Current Evidence, and Future Directions”

  • William H. Fisher
  • Robert E. Drake

Morrissey and his colleagues are to be congratulated for bringing some common sense as well as empirical evidence to bear on the U.S. dilemma of shunting persons with mental illness into the criminal justice system. The startling reality that more individuals with mental illness are now committed to jails and prisons than are admitted to psychiatric facilities has sounded alarms among mental health advocates, policy makers, providers, and researchers. As Morrissey and colleagues point out, a range of mental health interventions aimed at preventing incarceration and re-incarceration, such as diversion programs, intensive treatment teams, and special courts, has emerged across the country. Recently these efforts have been encouraged by federal legislation providing funds for the development of local diversion programs.

Not surprisingly, current “forensic mental health” programs have been largely ineffective in preventing incarceration. One solution, concisely described by Morrissey and...


Mental Health Mental Illness Criminal Justice System Assertive Community Treatment Mental Health System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Draine, J., Salzer, M. S., Culhane, D. P., & Hadley, T. R. (2002). Role of social disadvantage in crime, joblessness, and homelessness among persons with serious mental illness. Psychiatric Services 53:565–573PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fisher, W. H., Silver, E., & Wolff, N. (2006). Beyond criminalization: Toward a criminologically-informed mental health policy and services research. Mental Health Services Research, 33:544–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Frank, R. G., & Glied, S. A. (2006). Better but not well: Mental health policy in the United States since 1950. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Public Sector ResearchUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity Massachusetts School of Public HealthAmherstUSA
  3. 3.Psychiatric Research CenterLebanonUSA

Personalised recommendations