Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Forensic MH court vs Criminal courts

While we were in the car, he did hurt me. When the officers were trying to get him to get out, he mentioned he had died.
They saw it and this was enough to take him inside to the hospital thank God

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I had to call 911 because of my son’s behavior. Usually EMS would transport him to a hospital and wait for a bed to become available. After a short stay in the hospital, the Dr. would send him to some mental health facility. The longest he ever stayed was 30 days, but on an average no more than 7 to 10 days. No CIT. The police and EMS didn’t know what that was. There were times I feared he would hurt me or my dogs.Where i live, there are no good answers. Some Police would look at me and say, what’s wrong with him. I told them he was schizophrenic and they had no idea how to deal with him. There were some that were understandable. I wish I had the answers.

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My son drives and one day he passed a county cop on a two lane bridge, so she followed him home which was only about a tenth of a mile. When she was trying to handcuff him, I made sure he cooperated. She put him in her car and when I told her his disease and he was hallucinating, she told me that she didn’t think he was sick. I told her he had just seen his Dad standing next to me, but the thing is, his Dad died some 30 years ago and she didn’t believe me. If the whole community can’t comprehend what’s going on, what do you do.



I honestly believe that its possible your son DID see his father. I do a lot of reading and am very spiritual…somewhere? I read that it could be more often than we realizw, that, certain forms of MI could be misunderstood as the person actually has “spiritual gifts” that are not understood by others and especially physicians and the medical community. Mist professionals are intuitive by nature and would NEVER admit to having any help in there successful treatment of others.

Wondering if anyone else has thought…just maybe…the “voices” are actually messages…and if some if the delusions could be “visions”.

Don’t get me wrong…I am very aware there are MANT who do suffer with delusions and voices…without a doubt! First hand experience with our daughter.

BUT…maybe, just maybe, your son has SEEN his father. Could be he’s gifted and not sure how to handle his gift. OR not sure how to shut out the messages that are not useful or wanted.

Just a thought.

And yes. Fully agree that most of our emergency responders …are not trained to identify MI or how to handle individulas who are experiencing an episode of dis-ease.

With all the support for handicapp fair treatment, (for ex: adding ramps at an intersection…that has NO SIDEWALK)…one would think that MI and how a person OFF meds or in a sense of dis-ease would be presented in training to he an emergency responded. And since it seems sick a lack thereof of education…how about a MANDATED update/certification requirement?

Lets get with the times people!!

(Didn’t mean to swerve off into a mini rant…it just seems so ridiculous that responders are NIT properly trained to identify with MI)


Not to change the subject slightly, but this stuff is always interesting. My brother who just suffered a break, and was diagnosed (finally after 9 days in a mental facility) at age 54, as having bipolar was told by his defense attorney that they should avoid the forensic court as it was only for big charges “like murder”. The criminal court judge pooh-poohed his diagnosis and break as “excuses” and told him that he wished there were higher penalties to apply.

Some of the people with brain disorders, who are in jail for serious crimes, can’t get into the mh courts with a felony charge.

This is a tricky business.


Hi Hope, thank you for taking interest in this topic. Yes it is a sticky subject especially not knowing what is the better way to go when people with mental illness are facing criminal offences. Our lawyer said to me that they believe most that do crimes have some kind of mental illness. I’d love to know why your attorney has said not to go to forensic under mental health court? I guess if it’s an offence where a slap on the hand or fine is the punishment, then maybe just going ahead in criminal court. But where prison is a possibility for punishment then that could mean they would be better going under the forensic mental health court. I would of thought actions where police are involved with someone experiencing psychosis is because the person is psychotic at the time needing to go to a mental health facility not prison. Or if the person has mental illness may not be of good cognitive judgement at the time of an offence or even to be able to stand in court.
If the attorney has elaborated why he thinks no to forensic court, it may help knowing for different offences which way is the better way to go… either criminal court or mental health?
My opinion is that we need mental health lawyers especifically to assist anyone diagnosed with mental illness. I also believe that prison is not the right place for someone with mental illness.


I wondered if my brother’s attorney had any idea what he was talking about. I was surprised that my sister’s son, who is a police officer in the same area, didn’t even know there was such a thing as a mental health court. Not only does their county have one, but its a pretty good program with a lot of support people.

I agree with you, prison is not the right place for our loved ones. Its as shame we can’t get society interested in our situations, until there is a tragedy.


My husband has just completed forms to try and get into mental health court as he was charged with multi counts of vandalism and destruction of property. He originally tried getting into “pretrial intervention” but they turned him down. I don’t know what the criteria is to get into mental health court but if it is multi-stays in psychiatric wards, I would say my husband has got that “locked up” as he has been involuntarily committed at least 10 times over the last 4 years, 4 times in the last year alone! He is also diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder. We won’t know if he is accepted for at least 3 months. I am praying he gets in instead of going through regular court!