The Mental Health Docket serves criminal participants who are suffering from a mental illness and are currently involved in the criminal justice system of Fairfax County. In lieu of traditional punishment, the Docket diverts participants with diagnosed mental illness away from the criminal justice system. As an alternative, participants are required to participate in treatment and judicial supervision. The Docket is divided into four phases and participants who successfully complete the program may have their current charges reduced or dismissed. The Docket is voluntary and a participant can decide not to be involved at any time. However, if s/he chooses to quit (or obtains a sanctioned dismissal) the traditional court process will resume.
While in the program, the participant is required to receive ongoing mental health treatment along with regular supervision from the court and Docket team. The Docket team holds defendants accountable and assists participants to achieve long-term stability, including becoming law-abiding citizens and successful family/community members. Participants must abide by all the conditions and rules of the Mental Health Docket. A private attorney or public defender will continue to represent the participant and his/her legal interests throughout participation in the Docket program.
The following are the eligibility criteria for entry into the Fairfax County Mental Health Docket.
Candidates must be:
Residents of Fairfax County, VA
18 years of age or older
Charged in Fairfax County
Diagnosed with a serious mental illness as defined by DSM-5
Assessed at medium to high risk of recidivism as measured by a validated assessment instrument
Assessed to show a likely connection between the defendant's mental illness and their criminal behavior
The length of the Mental Health Docket program ranges from 12 to 24 months, depending on progress.
Fairfax County Mental Health Docket sessions are conducted on every other Friday at 2:00PM in the Fairfax County Courthouse, Courtroom 1E. Participants are required to come to court every two weeksto four weeks, depending on their phase in the program, in order to provide the Judge and Docket team with updates on their treatment progress, successes, and challenges that they've experienced over the past two weeks. The program is made up of four phases. Participants must progress and meet all milestones prior to phase advancement.