Assessing the effectiveness of mental health courts: A quantitative review

Christine M. Sarteschi, Michael G. Vaughn, Kevin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this review is to quantitatively review the accumulating MHC studies that have been conducted of both peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed studies. The primary objective of the current study is to provide a clearer picture as to whether MHCs are an empirically efficacious intervention for a significant health and criminological problem. Methods: This study used meta-analytic techniques to assess the effectiveness of MHCs. A systematic search of the literature and electronic databases through July 2009, as well as an e-mail survey of mental health court program directors, generated 18 studies. Results: Aggregate effects for recidivism outcomes revealed a mean effect size of -0.54 and -0.55 among quasi-experimental studies analyzed separately. There was a positive improvement among a limited number of clinical outcomes. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that MHCs are an effective intervention but this assertion is not definitive. Methodologically, many of the studies are not as strong as would be ideal thus limiting our conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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