SAN FRANCISCO—The Forensic Mental Health Association of California (FMHAC) will recognize the Judicial Council with its Rossiter Award—the highest award the FMHAC bestows—at its annual conference this evening in Monterey. The council will be honored for its contributions and leadership in addressing the needs of criminal offenders with mental illness.

Judge Richard J. Loftus Jr., from the Superior Court of Santa Clara County and chair of the Mental Health Issues Implementation Task Force, will receive the award on behalf of the council. Just one of many council initiatives, the task force seeks ways to promote collaboration at the state and local level to improve outcomes and reduce recidivism rates for offenders with mental illness.

The Judicial Council also helps to promote the creation of special mental health courts. Mental health courts are a type of problem solving court that combines judicial supervision with community treatment and other services in order to reduce criminal activity and improve the quality of life of participants. California has 46 mental health courts across the state.

In addition, to meet the needs of those with mental illness, the council and its staff:

  • Develop and sponsor legislation to improve the handling of cases involving mentally ill individuals; 
     
  • Meet with justice partners, and direct and participate in state and national summits designed to promote collaboration between community-based services and the courts; 
     
  • Develop online educational resources for judicial officers; 
     
  • Work to propose new processes for addressing mental competency issues; and 
     
  • Conduct evaluations to identify evidence-based and promising practices

For more information on the council’s work on mental health issues, mental health courts, and other collaborative courts, visit the California Courts public website.

 

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