The Council of State Governments Justice Center has issued a primer on mental health courts. It was unveiled at a Philadelphia meeting of the Chief Justices' Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership Initiative, where state Supreme Court chief justices get support to establish statewide task forces on improving the response to people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system.
The primer provides the first comprehensive introduction to the increasingly popular specialty court model, which connects individuals with mental illnesses to treatment services while under court supervision. The publication–supported by the U.S. Justice Department–presents an overview and history of mental health courts. It describes mental health courts' goals and processes, how they differ from drug courts, research findings about effectiveness, and resources for jurisdictions interested in starting a program.