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Mental Health Courts

Mental health courts have spread rapidly across the country in the few years since their emergence. In the late 1990s only a handful of such courts were in operation; as of 2007, there were more than 175 in both large and small jurisdictions.

In Clark County, Mental Health Court is a pre-plea program that accepts both District Court and Superior Court cases. Participants who successfully complete (graduate) will have their charges dismissed. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office acts as the gatekeeper for the court, and they must approve any pre-plea referrals. They look at the current charge, prior criminal history, mental health diagnosis including it’s connection to the criminal behavior, wishes of the victim, restitution (if any), etc.

If the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office approves a person for referral, the next step is for a risk/needs assessment completed by one of the court team members (usually the probation officer). Then all the information is reviewed by the Mental Health Court team and a decision is made whether or not to refer the person. Participation is voluntary. If the person already has a defense attorney, start with a conversation to get the ball rolling.

Clark County

Court Coordinator: Beth Robinson
Email: beth.robinson@clark.wa.gov
Phone: 360-397-2431
Fax: 360-759-6869

If the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office approves a person for referral, the next step is for a risk/needs assessment completed by one of the court team members (usually the probation officer). Then all the information is reviewed by the Mental Health Court team and a decision is made whether or not to refer the person. Participation is voluntary. If the person already has a defense attorney, start with a conversation to get the ball rolling. In Clark County, Mental Health Court is a pre-plea program that accepts both District Court and Superior Court cases. Participants who successfully complete (graduate) will have their charges dismissed. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office acts as the gatekeeper for the court, and they must approve any pre-plea referrals. They look at the current charge, prior criminal history, mental health diagnosis including it’s connection to the criminal behavior, wishes of the victim, restitution (if any), etc.

For more information, email Beth Robinson at beth.robinson@clark.wa.gov. View the Mental Health Court brochure.

Cowlitz County

Court Coordinator: Adam Pithan
Email: pithana@co.cowlitz.wa.us
Phone: 360-414-5508
Fax: 360-414-5528

There are no mental health courts in Skamania or Wahkiakum counties.

View the full list of mental health courts in Washington State.


Find a Lawyer

The NAMI HelpLine (1-800-950-NAMI (6264)) maintains a Legal Resource Service that provides you with information on legal services or refer you to an attorney from our legal directory. The
directory includes attorneys who have volunteered with NAMI and are interested in working with cases relating to mental health issues. The Legal Resource Service can’t provide direct legal advice, they can provide information that will help you support your loved one.

Or view our Clark County Lawyers list.

Learn more about finding a lawyer.


Consensus Project

The Consensus Project is a project of the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Information Network coordinated by the Council of State Governments Justice Center.  It is an unprecedented, national effort to help local, state, and federal policymakers and criminal justice and mental health professionals improve the response to people with mental illnesses who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

The landmark Consensus Project Report, which was written by Justice Center staff and representatives of leading criminal justice and mental health organizations, was released in June 2002. Since then, Justice Center staff working on the Consensus Project have supported the implementation of practical, flexible criminal justice/mental health strategies through on-site technical assistance; the dissemination of information about programs, research, and policy developments in the field; continued development of policy recommendations; and educational presentations.


Criminal Justice/Mental Health Information Network

The Criminal Justice/Mental Health Information Network (InfoNet) builds and expands on previous efforts to collect program information as a resource for policymakers, practitioners, and advocates working to improve outcomes when people with mental illnesses come into contact with the criminal justice system.


Evidenced-Based Practices: Shaping Mental Health Services Toward Recovery

The goal of Assertive Community Treatment is to help people stay out of the hospital and to develop skills for living in the community, so that their mental illness is not the driving force in their lives. Assertive community treatment offers services that are customized to the individual needs of the consumer, delivered by a team of practitioners, and available 24 hours a day. This link to the SAMHSA Evidenced-Based Practices page provides a number of documents that will help to implement an Assertive Community Treatment program.