Behavioral Health Court

Behavioral Health Court

The Behavioral Health Court (BHC) is a collaboration among the Court, Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, Criminal Justice Services, Defense Attorneys, Local law enforcement, Bert Nash Behavioral Health, substance abuse treatment providers and other community-based treatment.

The Douglas County Behavioral Health Court was established to more effectively address the needs of defendants with serious mental illness who cycle through the court, detention, and mental health systems.

Presiding Judge: The Honorable Sally Pokorny


The mission of the Behavioral Health Court of Douglas County is to connect defendants with community support services and reduce criminal involvement of defendants who experience serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders, thereby enhancing public health and safety.


  • Less time in jail and less interaction with criminal justice system
  • Connect participants to mental health treatment and community support servivces
  • Improve participants' quality of life
  • Increase public safety
  • Improve justice systems and mental health coordination
Behavioral Health Court Team - August 2023
Behavioral Health Court Team - August 2023


Participants are required to:         1. Follow a treatment plan.         2. Comply with all court ordered conditions.         3. Obey the terms of supervision. … Read More

The defendant must be a resident of Douglas County, Kansas.The defendant must be 18 years of age or older.The defendant meets the criteria for severe mental illness and this illness contributes to the defendant's criminal behavior.Eligible… Read More

The goals of BHC are as follows:Connect criminal defendants who suffer from serious mental illness to treatment and support services in the community.Improve coordination between the mental health and justice systems for persons with mental illness.… Read More

Upon successful completion of the Behavioral Health Court program, the court will dismiss the participant's charges.

While each case is considered individually, people with the following offenses will typically be excluded from the BHC court:Felony sex offenses.Unresolved out of county charges.Murder and Manslaughter charges.Unresolved KDOC holds. Some cases… Read More

Behavioral Health Court will accept referrals after the filing of criminal charges and the case has been forwarded to the Douglas County District Court for further disposition.

Our Team

James Carpenter
Senior Assistant District Attorney
Jolene Cullen
Adult Services Officer - BHC
Katrina Hayes
Adult Services Officer - Diversion Coordinator
Shannon Young
Adult Services Supervisor

Community Members

  • Sharon Zehr & Michaela Durner from Bert Nash 
  • Attorneys Kenzie Singleton, Karen Ebmeier, and Brenda Clary
  • Rebecca Sudja with Reentry
  • Blair Bracciano and Ivy Smith with DCCCA.