The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court (EJDC) has been awarded an $381,551 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs grant for mental health court (MHC). The court applied to the Justice Department for the grant to employ an improved strategy in the MHC that focuses on justice involved adults in Clark County who are severely and persistently mentally ill; the majority of whom are also diagnosed with co-occurring disorders including substance abuse. Individuals with serious mental illness routinely have multiple contacts with local hospitals, jails, and prisons and end up costing taxpayers significant dollars as a result of their repeated contact with those institutions.

The EJDC MHC provides intensive treatment and will use the DOJ grant funding to implement an actuarial, gender-responsive criminogenic risk/need assessment to tailor the services and supervision for mental health court participants according to their needs. The grant will fund implementation of capacity analysis, training on the implementation of the Women’s Risk Needs Assessment and the adoption of cognitive-behavioral, gender-responsive programming.

“This funding provides resources to do risk/needs assessments to improve intervention strategies, case planning and resource management,” said Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, who presides over the Mental Health Court. “Our goal is to reduce recidivism and facilitate positive outcomes for  Mental Health Court participants through data driven implementation of correctional rehabilitation and case planning.”

“The Department of Justice grant gives mental health court tools to improve the effectiveness of treatment aimed at preventing participants from revolving through the justice system,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “The Justice Department’s commitment to funding the mental health court validates the positive  results of treatment, versus a return of those with mental illness to the streets after incarceration with no help and the significant likelihood that they will re-offend.”

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court specialty courts are an effective way to address root-causes that lead to recidivism. The specialty courts include veterans court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court, felony DUI court, family treatment drug court, juvenile drug court and autism court. The court  is in the process of beginning a gambling treatment diversion court.