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Process Evaluation of Harford County Mental Health Diversion Program

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Author(s): (Robert M Bell) (Frank Broccolina) (Faye D Gaskin) (Diane S Pawlowicz) (C David Crumpton) (Jamie L Walter) (Gray Barton) (Jennifer Moore) (Robert Pointer) (Jayme Delano) (Jeanne Bilanin) (Tara Rice) (Anita Hawkins) (Kim Sydnor)

Development of the Harford County Mental Health Diversion Program (MHDP) began in 2002 through collaboration among the District Court, State's Attorney's Office and Mental Health Core Service Agency in response to perceived inadequate coordination between the criminal justice and treatment provider systems and an incomplete understanding of the extent of mental illness among offenders in Harford County. Memoranda of understanding were established to formalize the interagency relationships and address issues of participant confidentiality. The researchers found that the MHDP is generally operating as intended. Substantial collaboration among agencies was observed. The program is serving its target population of misdemeanor arrestees, but not as many participants as had been envisioned. Although the researchers found substantial general alignment among organizations at the policy level, on the operating level less clear alignment was found. The report identifies actions the MHDP can take to address these issues and improve operations. This is the second of three reports addressing court-based mental health interventions produced by the Maryland Judiciary Research Consortium, a partnership between the Maryland Judiciary, Administrative Office of the Courts, and units of Maryland's public universities. The first report, Methodology for Evaluating Court-Based Mental Health Interventions, was also prepared by IGSR researchers. The third report, Evaluation of the Baltimore City Mental Health Court, was prepared by researchers at Morgan State University. The Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) funded this project under grant number BJAG-2005-1076.