Mental Health Courts
Mental Health Courts hear criminal cases against nonviolent offenders who are mentally ill and have a drug or alcohol problem. The courts’ goal is to treat the underlying mental illness that is causing offenders' criminal behavior.
IDOC probation and parole officers supervise mental health court offenders to make sure they are following their treatment plan and obeying the law. The supervision typically includes home and office visits, employment checks and random drug tests. Offenders are also expected to pay all fines, fees and restitution, and meet with mental healthcare providers and other treatment professionals as required by the court.
The probation and parole officers are part of a team that includes mental health and substance abuse treatment specialists, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare caseworkers and mental health court staff members. All offenders are required to make frequent court appearances to review their progress with a judge.
There are 10 mental health courts in Idaho. Offenders who wish to have their case heard before one of them must submit an application and be accepted by the mental health court team. Then, after the offender pleads guilty, they are sentenced to successfully graduating from the program. Failure to comply with the court’s requirements during any stage can result in fines, community service, additional education and treatment and even incarceration.
The essential elements of a mental health court are described in a Bureau of Justice Assistance publication titled Improving Responses to People with Mental Illness.
Drug courts hear criminal cases against nonviolent, substance abusing offenders who appear likely to benefit from drug treatment instead of probation or incarceration.
When an offender is enrolled in a drug court, they must attend regular counseling sessions an