Mental Health Court
Options is an active member of the Mental Health Courts in both Josephine and Jackson Counties. Mental Health Courts improve public safety and reduce the criminal behavior of citizens who have a mental illness by improving their overall mental wellness, coordinating mental health treatment and helping participants transition into a life of stability and positive interactions with the community.
Josephine County’s community Mental Health Court is a collaboration between Options for Southern Oregon, Josephine County’s Community Corrections, Public Defenders Office, District Attorney’s Office, Josephine County Circuit Court, Grants Pass Public Safety, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Josephine County Sheriff’s office and jail.
Josephine and Jackson Counties’ Mental Health Courts were originally established because local leaders recognized that individuals with mental illness who engage with the criminal justice system regularly, due to unmet mental health issues, consume a great deal of police time, jail time, and tax payer dollars. Since their inception, these Mental Health Courts have improved system coordination and communication between the mental health system, judicial system, and public safety which has resulted in better access to mental health treatment, reduced recidivism, police contacts and jail days among court participants.
In Josephine County, Options provides mental health screening and assessment to determine eligibility into the Mental Health Court. Options works closely with the Mental Health Court to help develop and implement the Court participant’s Treatment Plan. Referrals for this Court come from a variety of sources including Options jail diversion team, jail staff, defense attorneys, police, probation officers, family, friends, and judges who feel that mental health issues are prominent in the defendants’ offense history.
Two of the biggest successes of the Josephine County’s Mental Health Court were noted just after its first year of development. The Mental Health Court realized a dramatic 98% drop in police contacts for participants in the program. Days in jail had also been dramatically reduced by 91% for Court participants.
The Jackson County Mental Health Court Team includes a Jackson County Circuit Court Judge, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Mental Health Court Coordinator, Public Safety, Jackson County Community Justice, Jackson County Mental Health, Options and others.
The agency, attorney, or individual submit the Jackson County Mental Health Court referral form and signed release of information to the Jackson County Mental Health Court Coordinator. The Court Coordinator then reviews the application for eligibility and assists with entry into the Jackson County Mental Health Court. More information about the Jackson County Mental Health Court is available on the Jackson County Circuit Court website at www.courts.oregon.gov.Jackson