Mental Health Courts for Better or Worse

Lorraine L Guth, Tennessee State University


The purpose for this study is to address the need to examine the effectiveness of the Mental Health Court programs in the Nashville area for the mentally ill offenders who were accepted into the Mental Health Court programs. Subsequently, measure the recidivism rate of these offenders before and after their graduation from the program (under the direction of DR. MICHAEL MONTGOMERY). This study explores by researching and interviewing the issues to ascertain whether or not the Mental Health Court programs in the Nashville area are successful. This research attempts to answer the questions of: Are the treatment programs results for the better or for the worse? The issues are: 1) Discuss “generalizability” (the limitation – reject the hypothesis); 2) Relate the hypothesis in the null form; 3) Limitations – small sample. This study examines the issues related herein, as stated above, by use of interviews of the participants in the Nashville-Davidson County, Tennessee Mental Health Court program, such as the judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, court personnel as well as the participants. The first goal in using the services of a Mental Health Court is to keep the public safe; and the second goal is to work with the mentally ill offender in order to keep them from reoffending after graduation from the program. The results appear to be more favorable then unfavorable. Results in the 2014 Metropolitan General Sessions Court Nashville-Davidson County Annual Report 2015 YTD indicate that the Davidson County Mental Health Court graduates 36 participants a year from their program, and of these 36 graduates, there is an 8% recidivism rate. The Annual Report calculates a savings to the Nashville-Davidson County tax payers of $2,916,000 by using the Mental Health Court program to house 216 active participants. The figures used were based on ‘“The average cost per day to house a “Special Needs” inmate per the 2012 State Comptroller’s Report (Average cost of $75.00 per day at an average incarceration of 180 days without Mental Health Court diversion)”’.

Subject Area

Mental health|Criminology

Recommended Citation

Lorraine L Guth, "Mental Health Courts for Better or Worse" (2016). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10119079.