The PA court systems describe “mental health” courts as follows:
Mental health courts partner key justice system officials with leaders in the mental health system to divert offenders with severe mental illness into a judicially supervised program and includes community-based treatment. The number of defendants with serious untreated mental illnesses in the criminal justice system has drastically increased in recent years, but traditional court processes prove to be unsuccessful in changing the outcomes for many of these defendants.
Mental health courts provide a team of court staff and mental health professionals that work together to screen and assess defendants, develop treatment plans and supervise offenders. These courts offer defendants the opportunity to avoid incarceration by complying with community supervision and mandated treatment.
First of all, when a programmatic solution to a problem has a misconceptualization baked right into the name of the program, then that solution becomes a magnification and extension of the problem. The class of offenders that “mental health” courts target are afflicted with serious brain function disorders. These are not “mental health” issues. As this site has expounded upon, the term ‘Mental Health’ is being misused by everyone: The laity of the general public, legislators, politicians, the media, advocates, practitioners of the law, and operators in the criminal adjudication system.
Speaking to this statement by the PA courts:
“but traditional court processes prove to be unsuccessful in changing the outcomes for many of these defendants”.
Any human being with an understanding of cerebral illnesses that involve severe impairments to metacognition and which can involve neurological detachment from reality (a disordered state of waking consciousness) would never conceive of any court process as a means of remediating neurobehavioral consequences of a neurologic condition to begin with. If someone fundamentally misunderstands the essential nature of a condition, they cannot possibly deal with the accused person justly. That misconceptualization will inform all attempts at alternate solutions.
“These courts offer defendants the opportunity to avoid incarceration by complying with community supervision and mandated treatment”.
We should NEVER be speaking of an “alternative to incarceration” where it concerns how society should deal with a person afflicted with a serious cerebral illnesses. No one should ever be prosecuted when that person transgressed the law as a product of a serious brain function disorder such as “schizophrenia” (Jacobi Fleming Nasse Syndromes).
To put it bluntly: There should be no one in America’s (or anywhere else on this planet) jails or prisons with a diagnosis of “Schizophrenia” or any other biological condition that deprived the person of cognitive or metacognitive powers to audit and regulate their behaviors. This is a brain function disorder that disrupts the brain’s entire communication system with such devastating brutality that to arrest and detain or prosecute that person is an act of barbarism. This page has also condemned so-called competency restoration – which abuses the good of medical treatment for an unjust purpose.
The “ruling class” of American society seems to be unable to conceive of any other way of dealing with societal problems than by adjudicating people through civil and criminal courts. The very idea of a “Mental Health” court is an abomination. Persons afflicted with a serious brain function disorder should be under the care of the medical system, sometimes forcibly if the person is disabled by anosognosia. No one should have the “right” to become neurologically detached from reality – which is a potentially deadly medical status. But being adjudicated through a “mental health” court to design and compel a treatment plan pursuant to a violation of the law is simply unacceptable.