MSSAC Studies Court Attitudes Toward Defendants with Mental Illness

The Mississippi SAC, as part of its 2012-2013 State Justice Statistics award, is conducting a statewide survey of judges, prosecutors, and public defenders regarding perceptions of defendants with mental illness. The results are expected to yield a valuable contribution to the growing body of literature focusing on mental health and the criminal justice system, particularly at the adjudication stage. The results also promise to validate several existing scales on the topic. Of particular interest will be any observed differences in the patterns of beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions across the three groups of respondents. Final reports will be made available to all state criminal justice policy makers and will also be posted to the state's new SAC website: MSSAC.org. Please feel free to contact the MS-SAC with questions about this or other projects.