An Evaluation of the Outcomes of An Urban Mental Health Court Conditional Dismissal Program in Texas
Applewhite, Myesha C
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The purpose of this study is to evaluate outcomes of a mental health court conditional dismissal (CD) program for mentally ill offenders in Dallas County, Texas. There is a large body of research that suggests that mental health courts are effective in reducing rates of recidivism among mentally ill offenders. Program completers are compared to non-completers and those who refused to participate in the CD program (n= 347). Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression survival analysis is utilized as a method of analysis to examine odds and time to recidivism outcomes across these groups. For the CD Program participants and refusals included in the analysis (n= 347), roughly 72 percent (n= 249) of these individuals successfully completed their initial CD Program involvement. In looking at survival/hazard rates via a Kaplan-Meier analysis, there were no differences in the time to recidivism and recidivism status across the three groups. Moreover, there was no difference in hazard rates for recidivism across the two CD outcome groups. The policy implications, study limitations, and directions for future research are offered.