Deschutes County’s Mental Health Court (DCMHC) program is a court supervised intensive treatment program serving mentally ill adults in Deschutes County who have acquired legal charges. Mental Health Court (MHC) is coordinated by Deschutes County Behavioral Health and is closely monitored by the court under the direction of the Mental Health Court Judge. 

The Goals of the MHC program are to:

  • Increase access to and engagement in treatment for persons with an eligible serious mental illness who have been charged with a crime. 
  • Promote the development of skills and access to services that support the long-term well being of the participant
  • Reduce the likelihood that the person will commit a new crime in the future. 
  • Promote positive, pro-social behavior.

Expectations of a person participating in the MHC program:

If accepted into Mental Health Court, an appointment will be set for the participant to work with the Mental Health Court Coordinator and/or a Case Manager to develop a service plan.  This plan will be based on needs identified by the participant and their treatment provider. Basic expectations of all participants are:

  • Frequent court appearances
  • Participation in recommended mental health treatment, which can include, but is not limited to, individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, and case management.
  • Abstinence from illegal drug use and potentially from alcohol as determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • If appropriate, a drug and alcohol evaluation may be required. Participants are expected to comply with recommendations for alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Community based self-help/recovery meetings (12-step, AA, NA, DDA, etc).
  • Random alcohol and drug testing.
  • Compliance with probation requirements, if applicable.

Individualized treatment interventions and sanctions are given for non-compliance.  As a participant progresses, the treatment plan is adjusted with less frequent drug testing, treatment sessions, and court appearances.

Scope and Length of Judicial Supervision:

Mental Health Court is generally a 12-18 month program depending on the criminal charges or the needs of the defendant. Defendants must demonstrate progress, remain stable, be clean and sober for at least 90 days prior to completion of the program, and must complete treatment requirements.  If new charges are obtained, the sobriety requirement has not been meet, or the defendant has been otherwise non-compliant, time in the program can be extended or they may be terminated.