RD143 - Treatment Needs of Individuals Found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

Executive Summary:

Senate Joint Resolution 324 introduced by Senator Puller during the 2005 General Assembly Session was amended to direct the Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC), through its Behavioral Health Care Subcommittee (BHC), to study the needs of patients found not guilty by reason of insanity and persons found incompetent to stand trial.

This is the third and final JCHC report in response to this study resolution. Legislation based on the study findings was introduced by JCHC and enacted by the General Assembly during the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Sessions. (Study findings and the actions taken by JCHC during the first two years of the study are detailed in Senate Document 5 – 2006 and Report Document 78 – 2007.) The legislative options approved by JCHC for introduction during the 2008 General Assembly included to:

• Introduce legislation to amend Code of Virginia § 19.2-169.3.B to limit to 45 days the treatment provided to restore competency for a defendant charged with a minor, nonviolent misdemeanor offense and to provide the court with options of ordering release or commitment pursuant to Article 5 (§ 37.2-814 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 37.2 (civil commitment statute).

• Introduce a budget amendment to provide funding of $410,000 GFs for each year of the biennium for DMHMRSAS to fund outpatient restorations for adults (including $20,000 to train additional CSB/BHA staff in completing competency restoration.)

• Introduce legislation to move language clarifying that voluntary admission to a State hospital should not automatically result in revocation of the acquittee’s conditional release. Language would be removed from Code of Virginia §§ 19.2-182.8 and 19.2-182.9 and placed in another (possibly new) subsection of the Code.

On behalf of the Joint Commission and staff, I would like to thank the numerous individuals who assisted with this three-year study including representatives of community services boards; the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services; Indigent Defense Commission; National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Virginia; Office of the Attorney General; Psychiatric Society of Virginia (and of Northern Virginia); Supreme Court of Virginia; University of Virginia Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy; and Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy.