- Reducing recidivism rates and raising success rates for individuals who experience mental or behavioral distress and have been through the legal system is the key to lowering the expenditure of valuable resources including time and judicial budget. Regardless, little research attention has been given to post-arrest diversion programming and reentry programs for mental health court participants, and existing research is “generally inconsistent and lacking in uniformity.” This study conducted a statistical analysis of the demographics of the mental health court participants of the Superior Court of California, County of Orange. Despite an initial dataset of 1,346 unique cases, only 112 cases were eligible to participate in the study, a number substantially lower than initially anticipated. As a result, the results of this study were inconclusive. Regardless, the program of interest – the “Whatever it Takes” Court, also known as the WIT court, shows a substantial reduction in recidivism rates among participants when compared to the recidivism rates of traditional courts, suggesting future research may be warranted.
Key Words: recidivism, mental health court, court participants, WIT, criminal justice
system, restitution, post-arrest, diversion, success, reduced recidivism, rearrest