Part I of this Note is a brief overview of the mental health court system. It is broken into two subparts: first, a brief description of the system’s goals and success; and, second, a brief overview of mental health courts’ general structure. The theme here is that the term “system” is really a misnomer, and there is plenty of room for development.

In Part II, I introduce some of the barriers to achieving voluntary participation. This section also has two subparts: first, a discussion on target participants’ reduced capacities; and, second, a description of the structural shortcomings in mental health courts. The general theme here is that target participants do not suffer from a depreciated decision-making capacity despite not having the tools to control their illnesses. Instead, it suggests that participants have a reduced capacity for voluntarism that can be improved through increasing education and empowerment.

Finally, in Part III, I discuss the possible adoption of the consumer participation model from private mental health treatment as a tool for improving access to information and reducing coercion in the mental health court process. I suggest that this model will help alleviate some of the problems with voluntariness in mental health court programs. Further, I suggest that the benefits obtained from adopting the consumer-participation model also address many of the concerns that mental health court opponents raise.

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