Educational experience includes BA in Political Science/Pre-law, Master's in Forensic Psychology, and I am currently pursuing a second Master's in Mental Health Counseling (including licensure), with an anticipated graduation date of December 2017. I have 20 Years of experience that includes mitigation services in felony cases, case management, substance abuse and mental health counseling. I have proficient knowledge of the legal system at municipal, state and federal levels, and working within the jail and prison system. Extensive experience working with client's, family members of client's, doctors, case workers, attorneys and Judges in the gathering of relevant material to be used in mitigation. Experience testifying in Court as Expert Witness in both areas of mitigation and mental health.
Proficient Computer Skills
I was a key component in the development of the Behavioral Health Court at Phoenix Municipal Court beginning in 2011. Effectively managed caseloads of more than 85 clients with Serious Mental Illnesses and Substance Abuse Addiction's at any given time. Lead Presenter for the past five years for the Arizona Public Defender's Association addressing mental illness in the court system.
Mental Health Court Specialist/Court Liaison11/2010 to CurrentPhoenix, AZ
Conduct preliminary evaluations with defendants both in custody and out to determine whether they are appropriate for Mental Health Court or in need of Rule 11 proceedings.
Coordinate with clients, Judges, Attorneys and Doctors to ensure that clients are properly screened for Rule 11 proceedings or need referral to mental health services.
Work with mental health clients who are in the Rule 11 proceedings.
Compile all mental health records to present to Court and Doctors.
Serve as court liaison for the clients.
Mitigation Specialist12/2010 to CurrentGibson Litigation Support Services, LLCPhoenix, AZ
Conduct life-history investigation for purpose of developing mitigation themes; by compiling evidence and extensive documentation relating to clients' life history and background including, family background, prior personal relationships, and educational, medical, employment, and criminal history to obtain information to assist in mitigation.
Collaborate with local law enforcement, medical professionals, and educational institutions for needed information; Assess clients' social and medical histories, psychological evaluations, educational transcripts and legal documents; Interview relevant parties, including detailed and comprehensive interviews of lay witnesses, to assist in development of expert witness information and formulation of sentencing recommendations.
Prepare correspondence, social histories, reports and submit information to psychologists, attorneys, and the court.
Use the information to assist in purposing recommendations for future treatment plans to be included in the mitigation report and at sentencing.
Submit written and oral mitigation report based on findings to the court and the attorneys.
Volunteer Mitigation Specialist07/2010 to 01/2011Maricopa County Office of the Public DefenderPhoenix, AZ
Worked as a volunteer in the mitigation specialist in the criminal mental health unit on volunteer bases to learn the roll of mitigation.
Met with in-custody clients to begin the interview process for obtaining their psychosocial history, Conducted lay witness interviews for mitigation purposes.
Worked closely with attorneys and other mitigation specialist, and adult probation officers to address the clients needs.
Worked closely with the mental health court and the Continuity of Care to assist in providing the client's "wrap around services".
01/2009 to 07/2010Value Options/Magellan PIRPhoenix, AZ
Provided case management for 40 clients diagnosed as Seriously Mentally Ill (SMI).
Completed psychological assessments for each consumer, completed treatment plans, and documented all consumer interactions in accordance with State law.
Prepared legal paper work and completed legal petitions for Doctor's approval as required for Court Ordered Petitions, testified in court as witness in petitions.
Coordinated care with Courts, jails and Psychiatric Hospitals.
Managed Client Crisis Situations, evaluated clients' level of functioning and risk for danger to self or to others.
Counselor06/2005 to 11/2006Center for Behavioral HealthPhoenix, AZ
Conducted individual substance abuse counseling for 85 patients that were in treatment for opiate addiction and in a State methadone clinic.
Completed assessments and interviews that were written reports on each patient that documented each counseling session, Conducted psychological assessments and treatment plans that were required for each patient in accordance with State law.
Assessed patient's level of functioning and risk and provided referrals to community agencies, Assisted patients in identifying goals and the barriers to treatments by providing counseling, as well as efficient ways to reach identified treatment goals.
Case Manager Public Defender06/2000 to 05/2005Nova Safe HavenPhoenix, AZ
Provided case management services to 40 homeless SMI adults.
Provided Substance abuse and group counseling services to the consumers.
Served as liaison between clients, psychiatrists, law enforcement, attorneys and the courts.
Evaluated for crisis and risk of behavior as it related to Danger to Self and Danger to Others.
Petitioned consumers for immediate psychiatric care when needed.
Assisted with identifying goals and barriers to achieving those goals to help minimize the effects of mental illness and homelessness.
Assisted with AHCCCS and SSI applications and referrals for community services.
Presentations Presenter at Arizona 's Association Annual Seminar in the area of mental health and criminal justice 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.
Have conducted training programs for Court Appointed Attorney's at Phoenix Municipal Court on navigating the Rule 11 process and Mental Health Court.
Counselor11/1999 to 05/2000National Council on AlcoholismDetroit, Michigan
Provided substance abuse counseling for individuals that suffered from both mental illness and substance abuse dependency.
Conducted group sessions with consumers.
Completed, and submitted written evaluations and assessments in accordance with State law.
Counselor10/1996 to 11/1999NCSODetroit, Michigan
Provided substance abuse counseling for Seriously Mentally Ill, homeless individuals in inner city Detroit.
Conducted group sessions at the facility three times per week to address barriers to recovery, triggers and coping skills.
Conducted written assessments and treatment plans on each consumer.
Provided community and agency referrals for additional services.
Director of Operations11/2006 to 02/2009Total Quality Business SystemsScottdale, AZ
Education and Training
Master of Arts: Forensic Psychology2009Argosy UniversityPhoenix, AZForensic Psychology
Bachelor of Arts: Political Science1996Wayne State UniversityDetroit, MichiganPolitical Science
Mental Health Counseling2017Argosy UniversityPhoenix, AZ, USAContinuing education in a Master's of Mental Health Counseling in order to obtain licensure.
Extensive knowledge working with state mental health and disability agencies. Experience with case management, counseling, and the criminal justice system.