Quick Fixes for Effectively Dealing With Persons Found Incompetent to Stand Trial
CST is a constitutionally required mandate. It requires defendants to be able to understand their charges and to assist their attorney in preparation of their defense. When the issue of competence is raised by any of the parties involved, a competence examination can be ordered by the court. The requirements of competence proceedings have overburdened the mental health system recently in many states. In practice, competence examinations in most states require two licensed psychiatrists or psychologists. In many communities, this is not an option because of funding issues or an insufficient pool of qualified professionals to perform these examinations. Also, competence examinations must frequently be performed in forensic psychiatric hospitals that are costly and often unavailable.
Reducing the Pennsylvania Incompetency to Stand Trial Restoration Waitlist: More Than Just Beds
In 2017, PRA worked with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the American Civil Liberties Union to implement a settlement agreement to reduce the jail waitlists for competence to stand trial evaluation and restoration. Based on an analysis of data on all CST/CR orders across Pennsylvania and interviews with key stakeholders, PRA made 11 recommendations to reduce waitlists and improve services to defendants in the competence system.
Evaluation and Restoration of Competence to Stand Trial: Intercepting the Forensic System Using the Sequential Intercept Model
Pinals, D. A., & Callahan, L. (2020). Evaluation and restoration of competence to stand trial: Intercepting the forensic system using the Sequential Intercept Model. Psychiatric Services, 71(7), 698–705. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201900484
Challenges to Reforming the Competence to Stand Trial and Competence Restoration System
Callahan, L., & Pinals, D. A. (2020). Challenges to reforming the competence to stand trial and competence restoration system. Psychiatric Services, 71(7), 691–697. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201900483
Trueblood: Diversion in Washington State
Over the past 2 years, PRA has provided technical assistance to 15 diversion services programs funded by the Trueblood settlement. Trueblood is a class-action lawsuit in Washington State that enforces a person’s constitutional right to timely competence evaluation and restoration services. The purposes of the diversion services programs are the following:
- To prevent deeper class member involvement in and recidivism in the criminal justice system;
- To reduce demand for competency services;
- To minimize harm inflicted on class members by reducing criminal justice involvement and long-term incarceration rates; and
- To serve class members in the least restrictive environment.
Policy Research Associates has partnered with the Trueblood Court Monitor’s Office, Seattle Foundation, Disability Rights Washington, and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to provide technical assistance to the diversion programs.
Trueblood Diversion Services Summit
The Trueblood Diversion Services Summit was held on September 11-12, 2019, at the Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle, Washington. The Summit was planned and executed by Policy Research Associates in consultation with Judge Marsha Pechman, Dr. Danna Mauch (Court Monitor), Ms. Kim Mosolf (Disability Rights Washington), and Dr. Tom Kinlen (Washington State Department of Social and Health Services). The PRA team consisted of Dr. Lisa Callahan, Mr. Dan Abreu, Ms. Ashley Krider, Mr. Rocco Farano (videographer), and Ms. Kelly Abbruzzese (logistics).
The purpose of the Summit was to assist with the implementation of the state’s Diversion Services Plan to expand jail diversion programs state-wide. The agenda, which included plenary speakers, panel presentations, and topical breakout sessions, was developed to provide a national perspective on diversion of individuals with mental illness, to learn about diversion programs underway throughout the state, and to provide ample opportunity for cross-community networking and dialogue.
Recommendations for Trueblood Sites
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