Community Connections Mental Health Court

Reducing Recidivism & Improving Community Safety

This collaborative project with the Hillsborough County Court, local police departments, corrections personnel, consumer advocates, prosecutors and public defenders offers an alternative to incarceration for non-violent offenders with mental health disorders.

The project offers an alternative to incarceration by providing recovery-based treatment to enhance the quality of the individual’s life, reduce recidivism and improve community safety.

Why It Works

Studies have repeatedly shown that mental health court programs have been extremely effective in breaking the cycle of repeat criminal offenses by addressing the underlying causes that contribute to the negative behaviors.   

In the period between 2010 and 2015, approximately 1,185 clients were served in the program, leading to many successes. The resulting recidivism rates are significantly lower than the national or statewide average.   

In addition to the much-needed treatment for defendants with mental health challenges, the program results in substantially reduced costs for our communities. To date the  mental health court has saved the County over $2,000,000.

For more information about the Community Connections Mental Health Court project, please contact us at (603) 402-1585.

Testimonial: Mental Health Court Saves Lives

Jacob* was the kind of young man most would consider an adolescent superstar: a scholar and an athlete, surrounded by a loving family and good friends. Life seemed as close to perfect as it could be.

But things began to change for him and it seemed that Jacob’s life was crumbling.

His mother was diagnosed with a serious medical condition, a situation that was understandably stressful for the entire family, but Jacob began acting very differently than the person his family and friends knew and loved.

One fateful day, something inside him caused his behavior to escalate to the point that was no longer safe and to protect him and those around him, the police became involved. Jacob was charged with a felony and it looked as though he would be spending time in jail. A bright, young man with a great future, now going to jail…it was unthinkable!

Fortunately, Southern Hillsborough County has a mental health court program that partners with GNMH for precisely this kind of situation. Jacob suffered a psychotic episode, something he and his family didn’t understand. The resulting behavior was due to an undiagnosed and untreated mental health disorder. Sending Jacob to jail would likely have done him further harm.

Thankfully, Jacob’s family was connected with expert clinicians at GNMH who advocated that he be considered for the mental health court project. This program allowed him to be diverted to inpatient psychiatric treatment, which is what Jacob needed in order to be diagnosed, treated and stabilized.

Today, eight months later, Jacob is stable, receiving the treatment he needs and is back on track with the life he had envisioned for himself. He is enrolled in college, carrying a full-time course load and is pursuing an intensive and challenging major course of studies.

His life is his own again. His family, including grandparents and other extended family members, are beyond thrilled with the positive results of what could otherwise have been a tragedy in a young life. The entire extended family is fully supportive and involved in his recovery and progress. As for Jacob’s parents, they are so grateful that the future is bright once again, and they are more than thrilled to tell the individuals involved in his care:

“You truly saved our son’s life, and we are forever grateful!”

*Name changed for the privacy of client.