The Coordinated Resources Project (CRP) also known as the Palmer Mental Health Court - is a voluntary "therapeutic" or "problem-solving court located within the Palmer District Court that hears cases involving individuals diagnosed with mental disabilities who are charged with misdemeanor and low level Felony offenses and focuses on their treatment and rehabilitation. Created in 2005, the CRP is a post booking diversionary response to the problem of "criminalization" - or an increased likelihood that people with mental disabilities will be processed through the criminal justice system instead of the mental health system - observed in the Matanuska Susitna area.
The mission of the CRP court is to divert people with mental disabilities with misdemeanor or low level felony offenses from incarceration and into community treatment and services and to prevent further contacts with the criminal justice system. Defendants who experience mental disabilities are more frequently jailed and detained longer than defendants who do not. Jail is rarely a therapeutic environment for people experiencing symptoms of mental illness. Those who are engaged in treatment have been found to cycle through jails and psychiatric hospitals far less often others that are not engaged.
Anyone charged with a misdemeanor a low level felony offense crime who is diagnosed with a mental disability, resides in Anchorage, is eligible for treatment in the community and wishes to voluntarily participate in the treatment oriented court process in lieu of traditional district court criminal case processing will be considered for participation.
Any one can refer a person to the CRP. Police, correctional staff, lawyers, friends, family members, community behavioral health providers, judges and court staff can refer a case by simply contacting the Project Coordinator and indicating that a Defendant may be eligible to have their cases heard in the CRP
The Court diverts misdemeanor and felony offenders with mental disabilities from jail and into appropriate community treatment, focusing on the individual therapeutic needs of the defendant.
The PCRP meets on Wednesday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. in the Palmer Courthouse. Judge Greg Heath and Judge Estelle preside.
Court is open to the public. Specialized tours and training are available by contacting the Project Coordinator at 907 746-8142 or by e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in observing court, please call to confirm that court in being held on its regularly scheduled day. The number to call is 907 746-8142.
Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs publication: Emerging Judicial Strategies for the Mentally Ill in the Criminal Caseload: Mental Health Courts in Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, San Bernadino and Anchorage.
| Rev. 20 September 2012
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