Mental Health Courts and Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A Criminal Justice Solution?

Mental health courts were created to divert offenders away from prison into long-term community-based treatment. These courts rely on assessments, treatment plans and ongoing monitoring of behavior to address both the mental health needs of the offenders, as well as the safety needs of the community. But, are mental health courts appropriate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)? Can they do more harm than good? Join NCCJD as we explore these questions and hear from experts in the field about this under-recognized dilemma in the criminal justice system. NCCJD will discuss the results of a recent informal survey of mental health courts serving people with IDD, followed by Ms. Baird who will provide a historical perspective of mental health courts, and define their role and purpose in the criminal justice system. Ms. Patton will discuss how the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Court specifically addresses the needs of individuals with IDD and the benefits of serving these individuals. Mr. Stone will address the concerns of mental health courts and whether they are adequate to serve those with IDD.


Jennifer Baird, Program Manager, Mental Health Court, St. Lucie County, Florida
Meghan Patton, Court Coordinator, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Court, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Adam Stone, Criminal Defense Attorney