Mental Health Courts are facilities established to deal with arrests for misdemeanors or non-violent felonies. Rather than allowing the guilty parties to take responsibility for their crimes, they are diverted to a psychiatric treatment center on the premise that they suffer from “mental illness” which will respond positively to antipsychotic drugs. The assertion that criminal behavior is caused by a psychiatric problem and that treatment will stop the behavior has no evidence to support this false premise. It is simply another form of coercive psychiatric treatment.
In a review of 20 mental health courts, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law found that these courts “may function as a coercive agent – in many ways similar to the controversial intervention, outpatient commitment – compelling an individual to participate in treatment under threat of court sanctions. However, the services available to the individual may be only those offered by a system that has already failed to help. Too many public mental health systems offer little more than medication.”
There are clear indications that governments’ endorsement of mental health courts and “community policing” (as it is referred to in some European countries) will see more patients forced into a life of mentally and physically dangerous drug consumption and dependence, with no hope of a cure.
Mental health courts, starting in the 1980’s and 1990’s, attempt to link offenders who would ordinarily be prison-bound to long-term community-based treatment, connecting with the Community Mental Health Centers system that was established in 1955. Mental health courts proliferated in the early 2000’s due to funding from the federal Mental Health Courts Program administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Community Mental Health Centers became legalized drug dealerships that not only supplied drugs to former mental hospital patients, but also supplied psychiatric prescriptions to individuals not suffering from any serious mental problems. Community Mental Health programs have been an expensive and colossal failure, creating homelessness, drug addiction, crime and unemployment all over the world.
For more information download and read the free CCHR booklet “The Real Crisis in Mental Health Today“.