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Mental Health Division

Justice with justice you shall pursue.

 

It is the mission of the Mental Health Division of the Tucson City Court to enhance public safety, to guarantee equal justice for criminal defendants with mental illnesses and to effectively incorporate the continuity of care available in our community into judicial decisions.

 

In January, 2000, the Mental Health Division of the Tucson City Court was established. Prior to its creation, misdemeanor defendants were served poorly by the criminal justice system; they served far longer jail terms than other defendants with similar charges. They were frequently assessed financial penalties they were unable to fulfill and assigned to conditions of probation that disregarded or conflicted with their mental health treatment plans. Lawyers and Judges frequently made decisions without adequate knowledge of defendants’ comprehension of the legal process or the availability of community mental health treatment programs. The result was an expensive revolving door which did not respect the legal rights of mentally ill defendants and did not enhance public safety. The Mental Health Division provides programs for these defendants that hold them accountable for their actions while imposing sanctions designed to encourage appropriate treatment from the community of care. The program receives no outside funding; each of the member participants bears its costs from existing budgets.

 

The Mental Health Division has received nomination from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission in 1991 for its “Innovation in Community Programs” award. It also received an Arizona Supreme Court Justice 2002 Innovations award in the area of “Being Accountable”. The program was named by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as one of the Top 100 Programs nationwide in its 16th annual “Innovations in American Government” Award in 2003. The Presiding Judge of the Division received a Community Award from the National Association of Social Workers in May 2002, a Public Services Excellence Award in the “Stellar” category from the City of Tucson in June 2002 and the Bill Edwards Award for Mental Health Advocacy from the Arizona Center for Disability Law in 2004 for his work.

 

Contacts

 Diana Carino

Criminal Justice Liaison for CPSA

diana.carino@cpsa-rbha.org 

 Denise Curiel

Criminal Justice Liason for CPSA

denise.curiel@cpsa-rbha.org

  Mary Trejo

Tucson City Public Defender's Office

Mary.Trejo@tucsonaz.gov

  Roberto Garcia
Tucson City Public Defender's Office

Roberto.garcia@tucsonaz.gov

  Dawn Darkes

Tucson City Public Defender's Office

Dawn.Darkes@tucsonaz.gov

  Pat Mehrhoff

Tucson City Prosecutor's Office

Pat.Mehrhoff@tucsonaz.gov

  Lori Lewis

Tucson City Prosecutor's Office

lori.lewis@tucsonaz.gov

 Susan Shetter

Tucson City Magistrate, Mental Health Division

susan.shetter@tucsonaz.gov