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Broward County, Florida, was a pioneer in this field, and studies of their system have been published. A search of the SUO library should begin there. Also, organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association and Mental Health America have published position papers on the topic. A 2006 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) can provide needed background on incarcerated inmates with mental issues.

Using appropriate research, prepare a 4-6 page report in Microsoft Word that addresses the following points:

  • Review the current state of “mental health courts.” How prevalent are they? Is this a trend that seems to be gaining support? Do they exist in your county presently?
  • Discuss the methodology used by the BJS to support the need for mental health services in corrections. Evaluate whether their research is appropriate for determining the need for mental health courts, and/or show how it could be improved. In other words, does the BJS study tell us what we need to know?
  • The BJS study at the heart of this movement was updated in 2006. Your report proposes an updated study. Provide and discuss at least five appropriate research questions that a present-day study on the mental health of offenders should cover.

Last, if your county were to adopt or expand this model, the professionals involved in its implementation will need guidance. Conclude your report with guidelines and procedures for police, prosecutors, and public defenders. For example, how should police training be modified to help officers recognize mental health issues? What criteria should prosecutors use when deciding whether to divert a case? Use these questions as the beginning of this section.

Make certain that you support your proposal with proper reasoning and research data.

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