HBA-MPM C.S.H.B. 1463 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 1463 By: Maxey Public Health 4/30/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Current law allows people with a mental illness, who have not been charged with a crime, to be placed in a jail or similar detention facility under emergency conditions. Police report that they often arrest or incarcerate persons with a mental illness when treatment alternatives would be preferable but are unavailable. Jails often detain these individuals for at least 24 hours and up to several days pending a psychiatric examination, available psychiatric beds, or transportation to public psychiatric hospitals, which, in rural communities, can be a great distance from jail facilities. Even short-term incarceration can exacerbate a person's mental illness due to confinement, overcrowding, idleness, and a lack of rehabilitation. C.S.H.B. 1463 establishes a pilot program to divert the incarceration of mentally ill persons and prohibits the incarceration of a mentally ill person except as a last resort. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Board of Mental Health and Mental Retardation in SECTION 1 (Section 533.102, Health and Safety Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 1463 amends the Health and Safety Code to require the Texas Board of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (board) and the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (MHMR) to develop and implement a jail diversion pilot program (program) in one rural area and one urban area designed to incorporate audio-visual telecommunication systems to: _divert persons with mental illness from the criminal justice system when appropriate treatment services are available; _provide access to such services to persons who have entered the criminal justice system; and _increase the awareness of law enforcement officers and officials to mental health issues that may bring persons with mental illness into the criminal justice system. The bill requires the commission in designing the program to employ to the greatest extent practicable available electronic information systems. MHMR and participating local mental health authorities, prosecutorial and law enforcement agencies, jail facilities, courts, county or municipal governments, and providers of psychiatric services are required to enter into an agreement regarding the procedures to follow in implementing the program and the duties of each participating entity. The bill requires the participating county to be responsible for establishing the diversion team as prescribed by MHMR (Sec. 533.101). C.S.H.B. 1463 requires the program to include a prebooking diversion system for diverting a person with mental illness from the criminal justice system before charges are brought against the person or the person is detained in jail. The prebooking diversion system is required to provide for a law enforcement officer or booking center staff member to request a mental health or crisis stabilization evaluation of a person through an audiovisual teleconference. The board by rule is required to establish procedures for the evaluations (Sec. 533.102). Additionally, the program is required to incorporate a postbooking diversion system for diverting a person with a mental illness from the criminal justice system by a court at the person's arraignment or court hearing. A court participating in the program is authorized to order the assessment of the person in order to determine appropriate community mental health treatment alternatives as an option to prosecution. The court may also order the person to undertake appropriate psychiatric treatment as a condition of the dismissal of criminal charges, deferral of prosecution, bail, or probation (Sec. 533.103). The bill requires the program to incorporate a system for postbooking diversion for a person with a mental illness who is in jail to provide routine mental health treatment through an audiovisual teleconferencing system. The bill provides that the postbooking system must include a jail diversion liaison employed by the authority who is required to determine whether certain jailed individuals are eligible for diversion treatment programs and facilitate the interaction of jail staff and court officials to further the program. The bill provides that the local mental health authority must employ a jail diversion team to select candidates for diversion into mental health treatment based on specified factors (Sec. 533.104). To support the postbooking diversion system, C.S.H.B. 1463 provides that the program must provide for implementation of an information system designed to quickly identify a person with a serious mental illness who has entered the local jail system. The program must provide for electronic transmission of information concerning all admissions to jails participating in the program to an information system at the local mental health authority, which is required to ensure that the authority's information system automatically identifies whether jailed persons are current or former clients and notifies a jail diversion team and case manager at the authority when a client or former client is identified as having been admitted to jail (Sec. 533.105). The bill requires the board to evaluate the program and publish a report on the program's performance in providing needed treatment and in saving or increasing costs to the jail and mental health systems and to deliver the report to the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house of representatives no later than November 1 of each even-numbered year (Sec. 533.106). The pilot program expires September 1, 2005 (Sec. 533.107). Unless as a last resort and where an emergency room or a facility deemed suitable by the local mental health authority is not accessible within 75 miles, C.S.H.B. 1463 provides that a person taken into custody may not be detained because of mental illness with or without a court order in a jail or similar nonmedical detention facility. The bill specifies that confinement in a detention facility in no case shall be longer than 12 hours. If the person is detained in a detention facility, the sheriff is required to document the time of detention, the arrival time of the local mental health authority, the reason for confinement, and the length of confinement. The bill requires local mental health authorities to work to develop alternative short term placements for persons detained for mental illness (Secs. 573.001 and 573.012). EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 1463 differs from the original by requiring the Texas Board of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (board) and the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (MHMR) to develop and implement a pilot program (program) designed to incorporate audio-visual communications to divert persons with mental illness from the criminal justice system, provide access to treatment services to mentally ill persons in the criminal justice system, and increase the awareness of law enforcement officers and officials to mental health issues. The substitute specifies restrictions on placement in such a facility and requires local mental health authorities to work to develop alternative short term placements, whereas, the original bill provided that even in cases of extreme emergency, a person taken into custody because of mental illness may not be detained, with or without a court order, in a jail or similar nonmedical detention facility.