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Court Leader's Advantage

71 EpisodesProduced by Peter C. KieferWebsite

Coming innovations, thought-provoking trends, questions that matter to the court community, these and more themes are covered by the Court Leader’s Advantage podcast series, a forum by court professionals for court professionals to share experiences and lessons learned.


Behavioral Health and the Courts: What Should You Be Doing Right Now?

August 16, 2022, Court Leader’s Advantage Podcast Episode

In this episode, we ask the question, “What should our courts be doing now?” This month we bring our discussion on behavioral health and the courts home.

In previous episodes we talked about the extent of the problem nationally and how it affects each community; we discussed the need for community collaboration; we explored the challenge of criminal competency to stand trial, and we learned how mental health manifests itself as trauma in our young people. This month is the last of our five-episode discussion with members of the National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness. Some of the topics we will explore include:

· What should judges and court administrators be doing right now to address this crisis?

· How do we educate the public about the realities of mental health?

· What kind of role will court staff play in this new model for courts?

· What advice do these panelists have for the rest of us?

Today’s Panel

· The Honorable Christopher Goff is a Justice on the Indiana Supreme Court.  Justice Goff was appointed as Indiana’s 110th justice in 2017 by Governor Eric J. Holcomb. Prior to his appointment, Justice Goff was judge of the Wabash Superior Court for twelve years during which time he established the Wabash County Drug Court, Wabash County Family Recovery Court, and the Wabash County Reentry Court. He has served as President of the Huntington County Police Merit Board and was named Huntington County’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year in 2001 and 2002. He is currently the Chair of the Indiana Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council (JRAC) as well as serving as a member of the National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness.

· Scott Block is the Statewide Behavioral Health Administrator for the Illinois Administrative Office of the Courts.  Scott holds a master’s degree in counseling, is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor, a Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional, and a National Center for State Court’s Certified Court Manager.

· Walter Thompson is a Peer Recovery Support Specialist and retired non-commissioned officer in the United States Army after serving more than 20 years. He is an Ordained Deacon at his local church, an advocate for mental health and was recently elected Commissioner and Vice Mayor of Florida City, FL. He attended Central Texas College and Miami Dade College. He is a certified Peer Specialist and Group Instructor. He is also an Intention Peer Specialist (IPS), Wellness Recovery Action Plan Facilitator (WRAP), Interactive Journaling (IJ) Facilitator, and Small Group Instructor (SGI). He is committed to Mentoring underprivileged youth and being a leader in his community.

· Patti Tobias is a Principal Court Management Consultant for the National Center for State Courts.  Patti has been with the NCSC’s Court Consulting Services division August 2014. She has experience working in a wide variety of national, statewide, and local projects including those involving leadership and governance, caseflow management, strategic planning, child welfare, criminal justice reform and improving the justice system response to mental illness. She works with national court organizations and often presents at state and national conferences. As part of a NCSC team, she currently supports the work of the National Judicial Task Force to Examine the State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness.

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