Mental Health Court (MHC)
The applicant must be a resident of Chester County and be diagnosed with a serious & persistent mental illness as defined by the DSM V (i.e. schizophrenia, bi-polar, major depression, borderline personality disorder). The client must be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony offense in Chester County and they must voluntarily agree to comply with program requirements.
The client or a person acting on behalf of the client must make application to the program (see below). An assessment will be scheduled and completed with the client by the MHC assessor. The assessor determines clinical eligibility. If clinically eligible, the District Attorney’s Office will then determine if the client meets legal eligibility. Provided clinical and legal eligibility are met, the client, with advice of their attorney, must voluntarily agree to participate in the program.
The client appears before the Mental Health Court Judge, agrees to the program requirements and is formally accepted into either a pretrial diversion track or a post-conviction track. In general, the pretrial diversion track program length is 1-2 years; for the post-conviction track, the program length is generally 2-3 years. A supervising office and case manager are assigned and begin by providing close supervision.
This program consists of four phases:
The program requirements are reduced from phase to phase upon successful completion of the conditions and maintained sobriety. Mental Health Court reviews are utilized to reward and reinforce progress or to address non-compliance in a quick and timely fashion. To be eligible for graduation the client must successfully complete all phases, maintain 90 consecutive days of sobriety; successful completion of treatment goals, stable employment or involvement in a productive daily activity, completion of a phase 3 project, and payment of fines, costs and restitution.