Jail and Correctional Services

RICHLAND COUNTY
MENTAL HEALTH COURT

“To provide for the rehabilitation and restoration of mental health to adult offenders of non-violent misdemeanors suffering from mental illness and/or co-occurring disorder of substance abuse”

83.3% of all Mental Health Court Graduates have had no further commitment or arrest since successful completion of the program.

1701 Main St, Room 207

 PO Box 192                                              803-576-1964
Columbia, SC 29202                                      Fax: 803-576-1982

Administered by the Probate Court of Richland County

CONTACTS

Amy W. McCulloch
Richland County Probate Judge
803-576-1997

Jacqueline D. Belton
Associate Probate Judge
803-576-1997

Nancy M. Moody
Associate Probate Judge
Mental Health Court Judge
803-576-1965

INTRODUCTION

Richland County Mental Health Court is a voluntary court diversion program originally funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and Richland County.  The Probate Court of Richland County administers the Mental Health Court.  The Administrative Order establishing the Richland County Mental Health Court was signed by Jean H Toal, Chief Justice, SC Supreme Court on June 26, 2003 and modified on November 21, 2005.

The Mental Health Court began accepting referrals from the Magistrate Courts on August 22, 2003 and from General Sessions Court on October 1, 2004.

PURPOSE

The Richland County Mental Health Court seeks to address the inappropriate involvement of mentally ill individuals with or without substance abuse in the criminal justice system, charged with misdemeanor and/or non-violent felony offenses, resulting mainly from untreated symptoms of psychiatric and co-occurring disorders.  Treatment is obtained for the individuals through collaboration among the judicial, mental health and substance abuse systems.  Judicial oversight ensures follow through.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Have an identifiable mental illness with or without a co-occurring disorder of substance abuse
  • Able to understand the terms / conditions of the program
  • Committed a misdemeanor and/or non-violent felony offense
  • Reside in Richland County
  • Have no pending cases to prevent completing the program
  • Sign a release of information

THE PROGRAM

Defendants for referral are identified at the time of arrest, at the bond hearing or at the trial.  Referrals are accepted from the public, law enforcement, bond court judges, trial judges, solicitors, attorneys and mental health professionals.

Clinical assessments are performed by mental health professionals to identify defendants with mental illness.

Upon meeting eligibility criteria and acceptance into Mental Health Court, jurisdiction of the charges is transferred by the court system to Mental Health Court. 

The participant from Magistrate Court agrees to a minimum of three (3) months to a discretionary maximum of twelve (12) months at the discretion of the Mental Health Court team, depending on the offense and the individual’s progress. The participant from General Sessions Court agrees to a minimum of twelve (12) months to a maximum of time equal to the length of sentence or probation imposed.

Intensive case management and supervision is provided to the participant based on an individualized treatment plan developed for that individual.  As treatment progresses, the participant will move to more traditional mental health services.

Participants who opt out of the program or who are unsuccessful in completion will be referred back to the original court for adjudication.

EXCLUSIONS

  • Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV) charges
  • Lewd Act on a Minor charges
  • Driving under the Influence (DUI) charges
  • Fraudulent Checks
  • Victim consent has not been obtained when required by Administrative Order
  • Individuals subject to a restraining order or an order of protection
  • Individuals previously convicted of a violent offense as defined by statute to include stalking & harassment
  • Individuals on probation / parole for a violent offense as defined by statute to include stalking & harassment

GOALS OF MENTAL HEALTH COURT:

  • To decrease reoccurring arrests
  • To decrease length of jail stay
  • To increase access, coordination, cooperation and consistency of mental health / substance abuse services
  • To increase accountability for the offender
  • To address public safety issues

COURT LOCATION / TIME

Mental Health Court hearings are held on Tuesdays at the Richland County Judicial Center, 1701 Main St, Columbia, SC. Review hearings can be held at the mental health treatment facilities to reduce the amount of travel for the participant.