Who Qualifies for Diversion?
A defendant must be enrolled with CPSA and case-managed by a CPSA-affiliated Behavioral Health Provider or have a private provider who is willing to report monthly to CPSA. The Defendant must be designated as a person with a Serious Mental Illness or a Substance Abuser with an Axis I diagnosis.
Prostitution, DUI, sex offenses, assault with injuries charges and defendants with numerous repeat offenses may not be eligible for MHD. Final decisions regarding MHD eligibility are made by the City Prosecutor.
How Does the Diversion Program Work?
Prior to an appearance before the judge each defendant is evaluated by the Mental Health Court team regarding MHD eligibility criteria, qualified by the City Prosecutor and advised of the program by the Public Defender.
At the Video Arraignment, defendants are released with the promise to reintegrate with their treatment agency and appear at subsequent proceedings or held in jail pending a Pre-Trial Conference date. Before the Pre-Trial Conference, the Mental Health Court Team investigate the defendant and the alleged offense to determine program eligibility.
Requirements for successful completion include receiving mental health treatment through the designated agency or private provider, taking prescribed medications, avoiding incident locations and alleged victims of the charged criminal offense, paying appropriate victim’s restitution amounts and avoiding additional criminal charges. The typical diversion defendant will be assigned a new court date for dismissal of criminal charges six months following the Pre-Trial Conference.
Monitoring Mental Health Diversion Compliance
During Diversion, monthly compliance reports are sent from each Behavioral Health Provider jail liaison to the Court CPSA Representative.
- If the defendant is non-compliant with Diversion: CPSA reviews the reasons for non-compliance and notifies the Public Defender.
- If the defendant re-establishes compliance within two weeks, Diversion continues.
- If the defendant is still non-compliant after two weeks, the Prosecutor is notified of the defendant’s non-compliance and the Diversion offer may be withdrawn.
- If the defendant is re-arrested: CPSA is notified by the Jail of the arrest, CPSA notifies the Prosecutor and the Public Defender and the new charges are merged with the existing MHD offer or Diversion is terminated, at the discretion of the Prosecutor.
- If all the conditions of the MHD Program are met: The Prosecutor dismisses the charges. Each defendant is given a certificate of completion.
- If the program is not successfully completed: The completion date may be extended to allow the defendant to become compliant or the defendant will be removed from the program and the case will resume with regular court proceedings.