The Effect of Mental Illness Upon Appearance Rate at the Arizona Superior Court's Pretrial Services
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractThis study collaborated with the Arizona Superior Court's Pretrial Service program to determine the appearance rate of mentally ill defendants who were arrested for a misdemeanor in Pima County. The hypothesis of this study was that active (currently receiving treatment) mentally ill individuals who were post-released upon a misdemeanor would have an appearance rate relatively similar to the appearance rate of the general population. The primary finding of this study, however, revealed that mentally ill defendants are 21% less likely to appear at their first court date than the general population. This finding suggests that Pretrial Service agencies need to adjust their protocol to help alleviate this disparity. Several proposals were fashioned in conjunction with the Arizona Superior Court's standing Pretrial Services Director, Mr. Domingo Corona. These proposals include, though are not limited to, discontinuing the allowance of treatment orders as a part of a defendant’s conditions of release, establishing a pre-booking diversion program, and initiating a hearing review system for detained defendants. Before any of these proposals may be enacted, however, the importance and responsibility of a Pretrial Services agencies' actions needs to be elevated, since many of these programs are not only unmandated, but also un-funded.