Seattle Municipal Court Hon. Karen Donohue, Presiding

Programs and Services

Mental Health Court -- Overview

Mental Health Court Home

Mental Health Court Links and Resources

Goals of Seattle Mental Health Court
  • Improve public safety
  • Reduce the use of jail and repeated interaction with the criminal justice system for mentally ill persons
  • Connect or re-connect mentally ill persons with needed mental health services
  • Improve likelihood of ongoing success with treatment, access to housing or shelter, and linkages with other critical support for mentally ill persons

Individuals in MHC voluntarily opt for two years of probation, coupled with housing and treatment provided by our community partners. Clients begin receiving services as soon as their case is heard in court. A clinical mental health expert works with clients initially to assess needs and provide connections to treatment. Probation Counselors then meet with clients individually on a regular basis for up to two years. Regular reviews in court are opportunities for the Mental Health Court Judge to monitor progress and provide praise, guidance, and direction.

Brief Description

In Mental Health Court, the judge, defense, prosecution, probation counselors, and a mental health clinician all work as a team to improve the life of the client.

Outcomes Of SMHC

Efforts of the Seattle mental health court team members have saved thousands of jail days, thousands of hospital bed days, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in jail costs to the city. Research has shown that successful Mental Health Court graduates increase access to treatment and also reduce criminal activity after the program ends. As a result of these efforts, the team has experienced a high degree of success in achieving the Court's goals of improved public safety, a reduction in the use of jail time, and repeated interaction with the criminal justice system. We have also documented that access to treatment, housing or shelter, and linkages with other critical support for mentally ill persons improves their chances of success.

Other Mental Health Court links.

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Municipal Court of Seattle, 600 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104-1900    Directions to the Court
Hours: M-F 8-5    Court Contact: (206) 684-5600 or Customer Service