Community-Based Alternatives for Justice-Involved Individuals With Severe Mental Illness: Diversion, Problem-Solving Courts, and Reentry
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume 41, Issue 2, March–April 2013, Pages 64-71
8 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020 Last revised: 25 Jun 2020
Date Written: March-April 2013
Purpose: Adults with severe mental illness are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, and traditional criminal justice processing has not led to meaningful improvement in recidivism and other relevant outcomes. Fortunately, there has been considerable growth in community-based alternatives to standard prosecution for justice-involved adults with severe mental illness. The purpose of this article is to examine three such community-based alternatives – diversion, problem-solving courts, and reentry into the community – and offer best practice recommendations for developing, implementing, and refining these programs.
Methods: The literature relating to the impetus and rationale for community-based alternatives, an organizing framework for conceptualizing the range of community-based alternatives, and the empirical evidence for community-based alternatives was reviewed.
Results: Existing research on diversion, problem-solving courts, and reentry is generally inconsistent and lacking in uniformity. Although some community-based interventions have a great deal of empirical support, other interventions have received very little research attention.
Conclusions: Research suggests that some community-based alternatives are an effective strategy for adults with severe mental illness, but more empirical research is needed before most community-based interventions can be described as empirically supported.
Keywords: Mental illness, Criminal justice system, Recidivism, Community-based alternatives, Problem-solving courts
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation