Pretrial Court Diversion of People with Mental Illness

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Court diversion is a method of administering justice compassionately for persons with mental illness (PMI). Evidence-based practices of this intervention were identified by reviewing the existing literature. Findings suggest that: (a) formal case finding procedures are important for the early identification of mentally ill offenders in need of services, (b) stable housing enhances the possibility that the divertee will remain in regular contact with her or his treatment provider, and (c) active case management improves compliance and reduces the likelihood of recidivism. In summary, research has not yet yielded generalizable knowledge about diversion and thus, it is suggested that evaluations should involve well-defined indicators, benchmarks, and outcomes.

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