Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Richard Wise

Second Advisor

Joseph Miller


Mentally ill offenders are overrepresented in the criminal justice system and experience increased risks of cyclic incarceration and recidivism following release. Mental health court programs were introduced to offer court ordered treatment regimens and a team of legal and behavioral health professionals as an alternative to incarceration. The goal of mental health court research is to improve graduation rates and decrease post-program recidivism by identifying participant characteristics that significantly contribute to successful program completion. This study proposed an examination of the association between characteristics of mental health court program participants and their influence on the likelihood of graduation, termination, and post-program recidivism within two years. De-identified data was collected from seventy-five participants currently enrolled in a mental health court program in Arizona. Age and pre-program criminal history significantly predicted whether a participant would graduate or fail their mental health court program. Pre-program criminal history and warnings of sanctions significantly predicted whether a participant would engage in post-program recidivism. Implications of the results of the present study are discussed.