California Judicial Council Task Force Addresses Mental Health Issues

Paul Seeman pic

Paul Seeman

Paul Seeman served as a judge for the State of California for four years following more than three decades of legal experience as a court commissioner, juvenile court referee, and attorney. A former member of numerous councils and organizations, Paul Seeman was part of the Judicial Council Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues.

In the organization’s 2011 final report, the task force laid out suggested changes to the way the criminal justice system deals with mental illness. They recommended that a conversation between professionals in the justice system, mental health treatment providers, and social service workers must be ongoing, in order to properly manage the needs of offenders suffering from mental illness.

In preparing their recommendations, the task force studied evidence-based practices and engaged in activities such as conferences, which led to more enlightened discussions on how to address the existing concerns. A review of the current research and meetings with youth advocates, hospital administrators, and other individuals in the field also informed their final report.

The report is divided into sections that pertain to each area in which changes are recommended. These include prevention, early intervention, and diversion programs, court responses, incarceration, probation and parole, community reentry, juvenile offenders, and education, training, and research.