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Mental Illness Court Alternative Program (MICAP)

Program Coordinator

Bernadine Howard 630-407-8448

What is MICAP?

MICAP is a court supervised program for participants who have been charged with a criminal offense that is determined to be related to a diagnosed mental illness or the symptoms and behaviors of an undiagnosed mental illness. MICAP is a voluntary program.

The mission of MICAP is to enhance the quality of life for participants by engaging in treatment and community-based support systems that uses a problem-solving court model to facilitate new skills which leads to a reduction in recidivism and the stigma associated with mental illness.

Contact / Questions / Document Submission

For all questions and document submissions contact the Program Coordinator, Bernadine Howard, at or 630-407-8448

MICAP Eligibility / Exclusion Criteria

To be eligible for MICAP, applicants must:

  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Be Either a citizen or legal resident of the United States
  • Be resident of DuPage County. 
  • Be diagnosed with a mental illness or get diagnosed through the assessment as part of the application process.
  • Demonstrate willingness to participate in MICAP and all recommended treatment, including therapy and psychiatry appointments and taking all prescribed medications. 
  • Plead guilty as a part of the contract with the disposition of the case to be agreed upon by the SAO and the defense council for successful completion of the program. If unsuccessful, they will be sentenced on the original charge.
  • Demonstrate willingness to follow the zero-tolerance policy towards alcohol, cannabis and non-prescribed drugs.
  • No crimes of violence (730 ILCS 168/20 et, seq.): Applicant must not have been convicted within the last five (5) years, excluding incarceration, of the following offenses: first degree murder, second degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, armed robbery, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability, stalking, aggravated stalking, or any offense involving the discharge of a firearm.

*Applicants will not be excluded from MICAP based upon their gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, limited English proficiency, disability, socio-economic status or sexual orientation.

MICAP Application Process

  • Step 1. The defense attorney reviews the MICAP Participant Handbook (see pdf below) with the Applicant to make sure the applicant understands the requirements and voluntarily wants to participate in MICAP.
  • Step 2.The MICAP application (PDF) must be filed in court with a requested next court date (Friday in courtroom 4001) of a minimum of 3 weeks for the return of a criminal history report.
  • Step 3. The MICAP application packet (PDF) must be completed and turned into probation
  • Step 4. At the first staffing (staffing is always the Thursday before MICAP court date) the program coordinator provides information as to whether the applicant is eligible. If the applicant is deemed eligible, the applicant is approved to screen and must be in person on the first court date.
  • Step 5. At the first court date the applicant will schedule a screening appointment with a MICAP Probation Officer to discuss background information and understanding of the requirements of MICAP.
  • Step 6. If the applicant attends the probation screening appointment and demonstrated a willingness to engage in the requirements of MICAP, the applicant will schedule and attend an appointment with the Health Department clinician. At this appointment, mental health, substance use, and other relevant history is discussed to assess the link between the applicant's mental illness and the presenting charges.
  • Step 7 Using the screening and clinical evaluation assessments, the case is staffed by the team including the defense attorney for amenability and acceptability at staffing the Thursday prior to the second court date.
  • Step 8. If the applicant is accepted into the program, the state prepares a contract (PDF) for review by the defense attorney and applicant.
  • Step 9. If an agreement is reached the Applicant and Defense attorney will need to appear in person at court to execute the MICAP contract and enter the plea.
  • Step 10. The Applicant (now the Participant) begins MICAP.

For further information about MICAP, please review the MICAP Program Manual and Participant Handbook, below.

Program Documents


  • Judge:  Paul Marchese
  • Coordinator: Bernadine Howard
  • Probation Supervisor: Deena Kuranda
  • Probation Officers: Joey Johanning, Sheryl Calderon and Emily Grunwald
  • Clinician: Andrew O’Brien
  • Assistant Public Defender: Andrea Neumann
  • Assistant State’s Attorney: Jessica Sisler

MICAP Team Links

Additional Resource Links:

Suicide Hotline

  • 988 Three-digit for suicide, mental health or substance abuse crisis.

Job / Career Assistance

  • WorkNet DuPage - Free career center, assists job seekers and employers.

Self Help / Support Groups

Other Hotlines

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