HELP Court

About the Court

In addition to regular case load duties, one assistant solicitor is assigned to assist in the Health Empowerment Linkage and Possibilities (HELP) Court. HELP Court is a program that provides a linkage between defendants with mental health issues and resources in the community such as:

  • Counseling
  • Physicians
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Therapy

Assisting Defendants

The community-based services, in conjunction with a HELP Court case manager, assist the defendant in treating and coping with his/her mental illness in a positive fashion so as to:

  • Be able to reside in a healthy, stable environment
  • Maintain a job if able to work
  • Reduce the likelihood of future criminal activity

The program also enables lower-risk mentally ill defendants (who are often indigent) to be released from jail on a small or Own Recognizance (OR) bond while in the HELP Court program, thus reducing taxpayer expense in keeping these individuals in jail pretrial.

Sexual Offenses or Serious Violent Crimes

HELP Court handles misdemeanors and felonies, however, the program does not accept participants charged with sexual offenses or serious violent crimes. In recognition of the progress of graduates of the program, the Solicitor's Office often reduced or dismissed some criminal charges, or, alternatively, recommended a less severe sentence in exchange for a guilty plea to the crime charged. Thus far, the recidivism rate among HELP Court graduates is extremely low, at 11%.