RAND Study Finds Mental Health Courts Have the Potential to Save Taxpayers Money

This is from the Consensus Project Newsletter- March 2007. The Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project, coordinated by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, is an unprecedented, national effort to help local, state, and federal policymakers and criminal justice and mental health professionals improve the response to people with mental illnesses who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

Special courts that sentence people with mental illnesses who are convicted of misdemeanors and low-level felonies to treatment instead of jail have the potential to save taxpayers money, according to a RAND Corporation study conducted for the Council of State Governments Justice Center.

Justice, Treatment, and Cost: An Evaluation of the Fiscal Impact of Allegheny County Mental Health Court,” was funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and the Staunton Farm Foundation. The study issued on Thursday by RAND, a nonprofit research organization, is the first to look at the fiscal impact of a mental health court anywhere in the United States.

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