Committee on Mental Health and the Justice System

Arizona Supreme Court Committee on Mental Health and the Justice System
Final Report and Recommendations • September 4, 2020

Cases involving individuals with mental health issues have posed challenges to the justice system, as well as to the person involved and their families.  The Judiciary is in a unique position to bring community stake holders together to develop solutions to improve the administration of justice for those with mental and behavioral healthcare needs.  The Committee on Mental Health and the Justice System, established by Administrative Order 2018-71, will study and make recommendations as follows:

  • Continue to identify ways for the courts and other justice system stakeholders to effectively address how the justice system responds to persons in need of behavioral health services.
  • Oversee the development of a model guide to help presiding judges develop protocols to work with the justice system involved individuals with mental and behavioral healthcare needs. Coordinate a statewide summit to share the guide with judges, court personnel, mental health professionals, and justice system stakeholders.
  • Review Arizona's mental health court standards to determine whether current performance measures should be adjusted to capture additional data and to examine how that data should be analyzed. Examine how other courts and stakeholders collect data and whether improved communications between behavioral health and justice system stakeholders could result in a more effective delivery of services to those who are mentally ill.
  • Review court rules and state statues for changes that can result in improved court processes in competency proceedings and court-ordered treatment hearings and other hearings where a litigant may need mental health treatment.
  • Identify ways the court can work collaboratively with other stakeholders to educate the public on the use of advance healthcare directives.
  • Oversee, as necessary, the implementation of recommendations of the Fair Justice Task Force relating to the courts and mental health approved by the Arizona Judicial Council.
  • Identify opportunities to educate the public on court processes involving individuals involved in the justice system who have behavioral health treatment needs.