The Multnomah County Mental Health Court is a specialized treatment court, designed to reduce criminal activity committed by persons suffering from a qualifying mental health diagnosis. The court is a cooperative effort among multiple agencies, including the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, Multnomah County Circuit Court, Multnomah County Mental Health Department, Metropolitan Public Defender, Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
Mental Health Court participants are on probation; both supervised (formal probation) and unsupervised (bench probation). As a condition of the probation, defendants are offered an opportunity to participate in the Mental Health Court program. It takes a minimum of one year to complete Mental Health Court. Successful participants are often able to shorten the length of their probationary period.
Mental Health Court Monitor
Once accepted into Mental Health Court, the participant is assigned to a Mental Health Court Monitor. The monitor works with the participant on issues such as housing, medication management, health care appointments, and transportation. Participants are expected to stay free of drugs and alcohol, to meet regularly with their assigned monitor, to take all prescribed medication, pay restitution to victims, keep all appointments with service providers, and obey all laws.
Potential participants are identified from a variety of sources:
- Persons against whom criminal charges are pending
- New probationers
- Persons currently on probation and being supervised by the Mental Health Unit of the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, Probation Department
- Persons currently on unsupervised probation (bench probation) referred by the supervising judge.
To qualify, an offender must suffer from 1 of the following afflictions:
- Bi-polar disorder,
- Schizo-affective disorder,
- Schizophrenia, or
- Major depression.
Other diagnoses are considered on a case-by-case basis.