Grafton County Mental Health Court

In June of 2011 Grafton County Mental Health Court programs, “Halls of Hope” out of the Second Circuit Court, District Division, Lebanon and “ASSERT”: Alternative Sentencing Solutions for Education, Recovery and Treatment out of the Second Circuit Court, District Division, Littleton, began accepting Program referrals after careful collaborative planning took place within each community.

A 2010 US Department of Justice, Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Planning and Implementation Grant, supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and Office of Justice Programs, was awarded to Grafton County to plan and implement these mental health court programs. Stakeholders that worked collaboratively with passion to bring these two programs to existence are pleased to announce the initiation of Mental Health Court in Grafton County.

We are pleased to introduce our third Grafton County Mental Health Court Program, Plymouth Mental Health Court, out of the Second Circuit Court, District Division Plymouth, NH. This Program began taking referrals in October of 2013 with great support from a diverse group of collaborative stakeholders from the local communities and throughout Grafton County.

Although each mental health court operates independently they work together toward common goals, share resources and a Mission Statement:

Grafton County Mental Health Courts seek to provide an effective and meaningful alternative to the traditional criminal justice system for individuals with mental illness. The goal is to promote prompt intervention, education, treatment and recovery in order to improve the quality of the individual’s life, reduce recidivism and improve community safety.

The Benefits of Mental Health Court

Research has shown:

  • Criminal behavior is reduced while clients are participating in Mental Health Court
  • Criminal behavior is eliminated or reduced after Program participation
  • Mental Health Court generates cost savings from reduced jail/prison use
  • Mental Health Court bridges the gap between the courts and treatment system, as well as the criminal justice system and the community

Eligibility

Participants must:

  • Be 17 or 18 years of age or older, depending on the specific MHC Policy
  • Be charged with a Class A misdemeanor level criminal offense, pending out of the 2nd Circuit-District Division Court in either Lebanon, Littleton, Haverhill (Littleton Mental Health Court/ASSERT serves the Haverhill Court), or Plymouth
  • Have a diagnosed or diagnosable mental illness (or dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse) that contributed to the behavior resulting in the charged offense
  • The defendant must not have any present charges or prior convictions involving sexual or violent offenses (select violent offenses may not exclude an individual from participation in the Program and will be reviewed on a case by case basis after thorough evaluation of the nature of the violence and appropriateness of the Program is conducted). The individual’s prior criminal record may impact eligibility
  • Participants must reside in New Hampshire within the catchment area of the Mental Health Court Program he or she is applying to

Referral Process

  • Referrals can come from a number of different sources including law enforcement, prosecutors, defense counsel, treatment providers, the Grafton County House of Corrections, family members or the court, etc.
  • All referrals will be made to the Mental Health Court Coordinator for an initial screening
  • An application to determine Program eligibility will be completed and submitted to the Coordinator
  • If eligible, the applicant will be referred to the local community mental health center for an intake evaluation
  • If accepted into the Program by the Mental Health Court Team, a Treatment Plan will be crafted incorporating evaluations and input from the Mental Health Court Team, Community Mental Health Treatment Team, prosecutor, defense counsel and applicant
  • The Treatment Plan and a Participant Contract will be signed by all necessary parties and presented to the Court for approval

For questions about the program, or to learn how to get involved, please contact:

Shelly Golden, MSW, Coordinator, Grafton County Mental Health Court
3801 Dartmouth College Highway,  North Haverhill, NH 03774
Phone: 603-787-2291
Fax: 603-787-2026
E-mail: sgolden@co.grafton.nh.us