Therapeutic Justice: An Evaluation of the Court's Role in Riverside County's Mental Health Court

Robert Nash Parker, University of California - Riverside
Emily K. O'Neill, University of California - Riverside

Therapeutic justice is a rising trend in the attempts of the criminal justice system to reduce recidivism among criminals. One of the most recent developments of this phenomenon is the establishment of mental health courts around the country. Currently, there are less than ten alternative justice courts aimed at the treatment of mentally ill offenders and of these, Riverside County is the only mental health court that processes felony cases as well as misdemeanors. This paper looks closely at the role of the court plays in the Riverside County Mental Health Court. It examines data collected directly from offenders as well as the court to assess the program's impact on recidivism and compares the effects of the intense judicial supervision provided to the mental health court clients with the standard judicial interaction of the comparison group.

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Updated 05/20/2006