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Mental Health Court

The Mental Health Court bridges two disciplines, criminal law and mental health, in a judicially supervised coordinated systems approach that supports treatment services for mentally ill offenders.

The therapeutic court approach seeks to protect public safety, break the cycle of repeated contact with the criminal justice system, and provide effective treatment options instead of the usual criminal sanctions for offenders with mental illness.

Improving access to appropriate services within the mental health system reduces the number of repetitive law enforcement contacts for individuals with mental illness, thus reducing the direct cost to the criminal justice system. The interdisciplinary court team includes representatives from the District Attorney and Public Defenderís offices, probation officers, and local community mental health providers. Special Judge Dawn Moody presides over court reviews.

With funding from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Community Service Council expanded its courts programs to include the Mental Health Court in 2007. The Court graduated its first successful participants in October 2008.

Recommended information sources: Mental Health Court

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Ericka Jeffords, Program Coordinator

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