Chatham County Community Resource Court (CRC), is a cooperative effort by the Chatham County judicial system, the Office of the District Attorney, and local mental health providers. It was created to address the treatment needs of people with mental health issues who became involved with the criminal courts. CRC is a special type of court that links eligible offenders with services and support that helps them to better manage their mental illness. Some people call this type of court a “mental health court" because it helps people with mental illness stay out of trouble with the law by helping them get the mental health treatment they need. Chatham County Community Resource Court is program facilitated and supported by the UNC Department of Psychiatry - Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, www.med.unc.edu/psych/cecmh.
The type of treatment offered varies depending on each person's needs and will be provided by a local mental health provider or an affiliate. Some of the services available are: individual and group mental health and substance abuse therapies, psychiatric services, medication management, and case management.
Participation in the Community Resource Court is voluntary. To be considered for admission the CRC, the offender must agree to be screened by mental health staff and obtain or provide the court with a mental health assessment. The offender will also be asked to sign a consent form that allows the mental health providers to share information about treatment with attorneys and the court.
People who are found eligible to participate in the CRC, agree to accept mental health or substance abuse treatment instead of receiving a fine or jail sentence for their crime. The court will dispose of these special cases either through:
The length of time an offender participates in treatment will be set by the court and may last up to six months or longer. If the offender fails to comply with their treatment recommendations, the case can be returned to regular District Court for further disposition.
- Deferred Prosecution - defendant could earn a dismissal of charges if compliant with treatment recommendations or
- Supervised Probation - defendant will be supervised by probation officer but will not serve any active time if compliant with treatment recommendations.