Law-Engaged Graduate Student [LEGS] Seminar: Trapped: The Limits of Care in California’s Mental Health Courts
Department:Program in Law and Public Affairs
Audience:Restricted to Princeton graduate students, faculty, and fellows
Each seminar features law-related papers or practice job talks presented by graduate students from many disciplines.
From Jessica Cooper: Mental health courts (MHCs) — specialized criminal courtrooms in which legal and clinical professionals collaborate to provide mental health care to defendants — stand on the front lines of California’s initiative to release mentally ill inmates from jail and manage them in the community. Based on two years of fieldwork in Californian MHC, this article grapples with interpersonal relationships that are forged under a rubric of carceral care. Like the defendants to whom they provide care, court professionals feel trapped by state’s dearth of social services. The shared sense of being trapped fosters care between professionals and defendants, but does nothing to provide professionals of the material resources needed to act upon promises to help.