Mental Illness Associated with a Forensic Interaction

Mental Illness Associated with a Forensic Interaction

Living with a mental illness is not a crime.  In nearly all situations, a mental illness crisis is not associated with any criminal event. This fact is in contrast to the false image portrayed in Hollywood movies and propagated by stigma. Instead, a mental illness crisis flare up is almost always resolved or handled by treatment in a civil Crisis Stabilization Unit (at Meridian, or UF Health Psychiatric Hospital, or North Florida Regional Hospital Behavioral Health Center). However, during a crisis a person with a mental illness may somehow commit a minor or major crime. This is usually done unintentionally or accidently. In this particular situation, family members should immediate contact the Alachua County Jail to notify authorities of the mental illness diagnosis history and all medications that are required of their loved one in the jail:

  • Alachua County Jail Main Switchboard: (352)-491-4444

  • Alachua County Jail Mental Health Counselor: (352)-491-4648

  • Alachua County Jail Nurse (24 hour): (352)-491-2865

Baker Act Florida Statute [s. 394.462(1)(f), F.S.] states: " When any law enforcement officer has custody of a person based on either noncriminal or minor criminal behavior that meets the statutory guidelines for involuntary examination under this part, the law enforcement officer shall [must] transport the person to the nearest receiving facility for examination." (crisis stabilization unit not jail)


Baker Act Florida Statute [s. 394.462(1)(g), F.S.] states: " When any law enforcement officer has arrested a person for a felony and it appears that the person meets the statutory guidelines for involuntary examination or placement under this part, such person shall first be processed in the same manner as any other criminal suspect. The law enforcement agency shall thereafter immediately notify the nearest public receiving facility, which shall be responsible for promptly arranging for the examination and treatment of the person. A receiving facility is not required to admit a person charged with a crime for whom the facility determines and documents that it is unable to provide adequate security, but shall provide mental health examination and treatment to the person where he or she is held. "

Mental Health Court

This program is designed to divert mentally ill and developmentally disabled defendants from jail. The Alachua County Court Services in partnership with the Eighth Judicial Circuit, Department of Children and Families, defense attorneys, state attorneys and treatment providers, has developed a Mental Health Court program to deal with defendants arrested for misdemeanor or felony offenses who have a mental illness or are developmentally disabled. Mental Health Court serves as a pre-adjudication diversion program in which charges of the defendants who successfully complete Mental Health Court will be dismissed. Participation in Mental Health Court is voluntary.