Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $199,252)
The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) seeks to increase public safety through an innovative, cross-system collaborative response for individuals with mental illness who come in contact with the criminal or juvenile justice systems. This program is funded through the Public Law 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) and is authorized through Public Law 108-414 (Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act, 2004). The program is designed to increase public safety by facilitating collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, and mental health and substance abuse treatment systems to increase access to services for offenders with mental illness. Activities under this initiative will encourage early intervention for 'system-involved' individuals with mental illness; provide new and existing mental health courts with various treatment options; maximize diversion opportunities for non-violent offenders with mental illness and co-occurring disorders; promote training for justice and treatment professionals on criminal justice processes and mental health and substance abuse issues; and facilitate communication, collaboration, and the delivery of support services among justice professionals, treatment and related service providers, and governmental partners.
The Queens Mental Health Court (QMHC) was developed with the support of the New York State Unified Court System (UCS) to coordinate the resources of state and local mental health agencies in order to provide a cohesive response to deal with defendants with serious mental illness, a problem that has been plaguing the courts for several decades. Following the third point of the sequential intercept model, QMHC was created as a jail diversion for individuals with serious mental illness to provide comprehensive mental health treatment that is closely monitored by the court. The court focuses on problem solving strategies, using graduated sanctions and incentives to help motivate individuals throughout the courts' mandate in order to prevent the revolving door effect of mentally ill defendants in the criminal justice system.
The NYS Unified Court System, Queens Mental Health Court will use their 2008 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (Implementation and Expansion) to improve the access to treatment services for mentally ill defendants through the following: (1.) Enhanced resources - the court will hire a resource coordinator, who will be responsible for managing the operation of the court, (2.) Evaluation - a process and outcome evaluation will be conducted to measure the impact of the program, and (3.) Training - conferences and training will be provided for the QMHC Team in the nature of continuing education.