MENTAL HEALTH COURT
The Scott County Mental Health Court (SCMHC) is an example of a specialty or problem-solving court that provides an alternative to incarceration for clients with chronic mental health needs; these clients must meet established criteria. SCMHC, through intensive individualized services, will help its clients, who meet these criteria, treat their illness, take their medication as prescribed, satisfy their basic food and shelter needs, and avoid expensive incarceration or hospitalization. The goal of the SCMHC is to impose a sentence that provides the maximum opportunity for the rehabilitation of the client, while protecting of the community and considering the victim’s rights and safety. SCMHC is a four-phase program that lasts a minimum of one year for misdemeanants and a minimum of two years for felony cases. Clients start the program by having weekly contact with the SCMHC team members (probation officers and other support staff) as well as weekly court appearances. As clients’ progress through the program, their reporting requirements are reduced. SCMHC operates as both a post-plea/pre-adjudication and post-adjudication model. At the very least clients are ineligible for SCMHC unless they have entered a guilty plea in their case. The court may dismiss their cases upon successful completion of the program, while other participants who entered the program post adjudication would receive a discharge from their suspended jail or prison terms.