Beacon Press: A Court of Refuge
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A Court of Refuge

Stories from the Bench of America's First Mental Health Court

Authors: Ginger Lerner-Wren, Rebecca A. Eckland

The story of America’s first mental health court as told by its presiding judge, from its inception in 1997 to its implementation in more than four hundred mental health courts in the US, UK, and Australia

As a young lawyer, Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren bore witness to the consequences of an underdeveloped mental health care infrastructure. Unable to do more than offer guidance, she watched families being torn apart as client after client was ensnared in the criminal justice system for crimes committed as a result of addiction, homelessness, and severe mental illness. She soon learned this was not an isolated issue—the Treatment Advocacy Center estimates that in forty-four states, jails and prisons house ten times as many people with serious mental illnesses than state psychiatric hospitals.

In A Court of Refuge, Judge Lerner-Wren tells the story of how the mental health court, initially held during lunch hours without the aid of any federal funding, grew from an offshoot of her criminal division to a revolutionary institution that has successfully diverted more than twenty thousand people with serious mental illnesses from jail and into treatment facilities or other community resources. Working under the theoretical framework of therapeutic jurisprudence, Judge Lerner-Wren and her growing network of fiercely determined advocates, families, and supporters sparked an international movement that transformed courts into a place of healing.

Poignant and sharp, Judge Lerner-Wren demonstrates that though mental health courts provide some essential relief in underserved communities, they are only one piece of a much-needed vast overhaul of the policies that got us here. Lerner-Wren crafts a refreshing possibility for a future in which our legal system and our mental health infrastructure work in tandem to decriminalize rather than stigmatize.
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A Court of Refuge

ISBN: 978-080708698-8
Publication Date: 3/6/2018
Size: x
Price:  $26.95
Format: Cloth
Not Yet Published
Will Ship On: March 2018
(Backorder policy)