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Mental Health Courts, Criminalization, Mental Illness and Crime, Law and Policy


The last two decades have witnessed the proliferation of mental health courts, proffered by governments as an efficacious and sometimes exclusive response to the complex social dynamics causing the criminalization of persons who live with mental health problems. the ready embrace of this variant of the problem-solving-courts genre has diverted policy-makers and citizens from confronting the root causes of the challenging intersection of mental illness and crime. the new courts have acquired a legitimacy that belies a wide range of doubts about their existence and operation. this commentary will offer a counterpoint to the accelerating momentum of mental health courts. it is intended to discourage their creation and to sharpen the monitoring of functioning courts.