Measuring the effectiveness of mental health courts challenges and recommendations

Nancy Wolff, Wendy Pogorzelski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


How will we know if mental health courts are effective? The answers provided by future evaluation research will reflect the extent to which the social and procedural complexity of mental health courts drives the research design and plan. This article identifies the research challenges associated with studying the effectiveness of an intervention that is nonstandardized by nature and highly dependent on macro and local influences within the environment as well as personal preferences and relationship dynamics within the intervention itself. Explored are the research challenges related to isolating the independent effects associated with mental health courts. The article concludes with recommendations for how best to evaluate mental health courts to inform best practice and policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-569
Number of pages31
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


  • Diversion-to-treatment
  • Law Enforcement and Mental Health Project
  • Mental health court

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