Commissioner's Committee on Forensic Services System

Article excerpt

In early January 1982, Dr. Joseph J. Bevilacqua, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, established the Committee on Mental Health and Mental Retardation Forensic Services System to (a) review the Department's current forensic system, (b) examine specific issues of concern and (c) provide recommendations for solving existing problems and projecting future forensic activities. The Committee developed the following recommendations in order to assure the existence of a high-quality statewide system of mental health/mental retardation forensic services.

Evaluation of Forensic Patients

1. By March 1984, implement a graduated three-tiered statewide system for conducting outpatient forensic evaluations using community-based resources (Level I), regional civil hospitals (Level II), and the Central State Hospital Forensic Unit (Level III).

2. By March 1984, implement a graduated statewide system for conducting inpatient forensic evaluations using regional civil hospitals, at least one designated medium security forensic unit, and Central State Hospital Forensic Unit.

3. Plan and implement multidisciplinary training strategies to establish and promote the three-tiered evaluation system.

4. Implement an interim training and operations plan pending the establishment of the three-tiered evaluation system.

5. Develop a comprehensive forensic services fiscal plan to improve accountability and promote cost reimbursement.

The Forensic Treatment System

6. Develop a graduated four-tiered system for providing forensic treatment services incorporating community-based outpatient resources (Level I), regional civil hospitals (Level II), at least one medium security forensic unit (Level III), and the Central State Hospital Forensic Unit (Level IV).

7. Take necessary steps to establish a medium security forensic area at Western State Hospital and assess the need for similar units at other facilities.

8. Assure the existence of appropriate patient placement criteria, procedures for interfacility patient transfer, and staff training programs in forensic patient management.

9. Treat NGRI's in regional hospitals near their home community whenever possible. Periodically review the clinical and legal status of all NGRI's. …