In 2015, Denton County charged County Criminal Court No. 5 with responsibility for cases of individuals with mental health issues. I was honored to be tasked with writing the manual for the court-based process. The goal of the Mental Health Treatment Court Program is to divert offenders suffering from mental illness out of the traditional criminal justice process and into appropriate rehabilitation alternatives.
Successful completion of the program qualifies offenders to have their cases to dismissed and their records expunged. To achieve this goal, offenders must participate in a special, intensive, customized program led by a team of mental health professionals. Each participant remains under close court supervision throughout the process. To date, 22 individuals have graduated from the program.
The Mental Health Treatment Court is one of four criminal Specialty Courts in Denton County. Others are the Veterans Treatment Court, DWI Court, and Drug Court.
The District Attorney’s Office also oversees two other programs—the Pre-Trial Diversion Program and the First-time Offender Drug Program–in which successful completion results in dismissal.
Also, judges oversee two non-criminal Specialty Courts–the Juvenile Drug Court and Family Law Drug Court.