6 Replies to “California’s controversial mental health courts to start up in October : Shots – Health News : NPR”

  1. Would putting government funds into creating a mental health court be worth the cost? I believe it would be worth every penny to create a mental health court. Mental health court could relieve a lot of the criminal courts time for one. Many cases in criminal court should not be held there. Mental health cases shouldn’t be held in criminal court, they don’t need to be punished, they need to be helped. A good majority of these cases would benefit from mental health being treated and getting the help they need rather than incarcerating them over and over again. This would keep these people from being incarcerated, then released and then being incarcerated again. Those who have untreated mental health issues do not improve or rehabilitate in prison. A mental health court is very important.

    1. I agree that mental health courts would be worth the costs, if they are effective. There are many different types and versions of specialty courts across the United States that are effective, but they are catered to the needs of their citizens. Each court evaluates risks and needs of those in it and has specific guidelines for a person to be considered for the treatment. It is important to question how mental health courts will operate; considering the official running it wants participation to be voluntary, and many mentally ill people do not feel as though they need help. Mental health courts are important and should be implemented but the process should be done carefully and with caution.

    2. How would these courts even operate? Would they have designated psychiatrists to prescribed medicine and treatment? Would they prescribed a drug and throw them in a secure hospital? Many mental health patients in the criminal justice system cannot be “cured” and can only be “treated”. The staff has to make sure to give them their treatment/medicine or else they recidivate. My main question is how much more would these actually cost?

    3. The cost would most definitely be worth it, but what I’d like to know is how would the funds be allocated. Will they be directed toward the administration of these courts; the actual planning of the treatment and services, or mental health representatives? I feel as if this could be a good thing for sure, but as long as it is done correctly and with the right end game in mind, it could be a good thing. Setting up a system to deal with something as complex as mental health and applying it to everyone can come with a lot of risks.

  2. Will the root causes of mental illness be addressed by using these mental health courts or is this simply an attempt to manage symptoms and behaviors? While it is very true that a lot of individuals who are incarcerated would be better off receiving mental health treatment, I feel as if this would also give courts a chance to use their power to enforce their own personal stigmas about mental health, which would then give them the power to try and control the behavior that they’re met with. It would only take one ruling judge who’s particularly biased to then potentially set in motion a number of constant, biased, and unfair rulings based on those biases.

    Not only would it result in countless individuals being incarcerated when they really need mental health treatment, but that would only result in those individuals being released back into the public still without the treatment that they need. It’s the perfect setup for recidivism.

    1. Jirah, I completely agree with you, a lot of incarcerated individuals need mental health treatment and yet are still placed in prisons that do not provide that help or medications. I feel like this court could go either way with actually trying to get offenders help or taking power and abusing it to enforce their beliefs of mental heath and what they think needs to happen. With this court I think that they need licensed psychiatrists and therapists working within their team to ensure that these individuals are receiving the correct help.

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