Psychiatric Rehabilitation in Mental Health Courts


Recorded: April 9, 2010
Speakers: Judge Lerner-Wren


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Judge Wren presents an overview on the history and evolution of Problem Solving Courts, including drug courts, mental health courts, and other models of therapeutic jurisprudence and the application of Psychiatric Rehabilitation principles as a means of achieving therapeutic outcome from both a public safety and public health perspectives in these courts. Following the presentation Judge Wren responds to questions.

Increases in the number of people with psychiatric disabilities who become civil defendants before a range of Problem Solving Courts presents an opportunity to not only divert these individuals from the jail system and into the mental health treatment system, but to lay the groundwork for the person’s Recovery.


Speaker: Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren, County Court Judge,

Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida; Court for Individuals with Mental Illnesses

Judge Wren has administered and presided over the Mental Health Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Florida since 1997. This innovative, specialized Court, the first of its kind in the nation, was established to address the complexities of offenders with mental illness arrested for nonviolent misdemeanors and to improve the administration of justice for those with serious mental and psychiatric disorders. Judge Lerner-Wren and the Mental Health Court have received numerous honors and recognition related to the innovation of the Court, the application of Therapeutic Jurisprudence, and for the humanitarian treatment of persons with severe mental illness. She was a member of the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and is a national and international presenter on therapeutic jurisprudence, mental health, and criminal justice. Hailed as a “Best Practice,” the Mental Health Court, with the application of Therapeutic Jurisprudence, became the model for recent Federal legislation passed by Congress in 2000 in the comprehensive Mental Health Act to promote Mental Health Courts nationwide.