Criminal Justice System And The United States

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The population of offenders in correctional institutions in the United States is at an alarming amount, and it doesn’t have to be. Each year 7 million offenders are absorbed and expelled from correctional institutions and jails, placing a heavy burden on the criminal justice system (Morgan, 2011). Many of these offenders will recidivate, and with rates that are estimated at 70%, means 4.9 million will eventually return to the criminal justice system, creating a vicious cycle of arrest, re-arrest, and imprisonment (Morgan, 2011). Among this population are offenders with mental illnesses that need to be addressed, or specialized care that needs to be administered. Without the support of mental health programs such as mental health court,…show more content…
Mental Health Court
Mental Health Court plays a key role in the justice systems ability to filter out offenders who require appropriate prison sentences, against the needs of people with severe mental illnesses. Mental Health Courts are the first step in combating this growing population, and provide a link between court supervision and mental health services (Almquist & Dodd, 2009). Almquist & Dodd also explain that with the growing number of offenders with mental illnesses entering the criminal justice system, court staff is having a hard time keeping up (2009). With an already limited number of resources, there was little recourse but to cycle them through the criminal justice system. Mental health court provides the necessary relief to the courts by instead of dropping charges for low-level offenses or cycling them through corrections, they are enrolled in a program that can last between 6 months and 2 years and provide life changing specialized care (Almquist & Dodd, 2009). While the original program was only open to offenders with misdemeanor charges, recently more courts have been open to accepting offenders with felony charges, and sometimes violent offenders (Almquist & Dodd, 2009). The Almquist and Dodd also explain that in 18 months into the program mental health court
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