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New York StateUnified Court System

Mental Health Courts


Overview

New York State’s Mental Health Courts handle criminal cases involving defendants with mental illness. Mental Health Courts are dedicated to improving public safety, court operations and the well-being of people with mental illness. The courts feature: a dedicated judge; specially-trained staff; resource coordination; and collaboration with technical assistance.

Modeled on New York State’s successful Drug Court initiative, the Mental Health Court initiative aims to provide offenders with mental illness the support and structure they need in order to avoid further criminal behavior. Mental Health Courts facilitate access to services, provide intensive judicial monitoring and promote collaboration between the court, community stakeholders, local mental health departments, mental health service providers and social service providers.

The first Mental Health Court opened in Kings County in 2002. The Office of Policy and Planning for New York State Courts oversees the Mental Health Courts and has spearheaded a statewide expansion of these courts. As of December 31, 2013 there are twenty-nine Mental Health Courts in operation and they have handled over 7,124 cases. *

* Included within this number are two Mental Health Court Connections Programs. As a companion program to Mental Health Courts, the Mental Health Courts Connections Program seeks to extend the benefits of Mental Health Courts to counties that do not currently have one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contact Info

For further information on Problem-Solving Courts or if you would like to schedule a court visit, please contact the Office of Policy and Planning at ProblemSolving@nycourts.gov