PA 07-216—sHB 7407

Judiciary Committee

Joint Committee on Legislative Management

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE RIGHTS OF INMATES WITH MENTAL ILLNESS.

SUMMARY: This act requires the Department of Correction (DOC), when assessing and providing mental health services to certain inmates confined in a DOC facility, to consider a licensed psychiatrist's diagnosis to appropriately assess the inmate and provide individualized, clinically appropriate, and culturally competent mental health services to treat the inmate's condition. This applies if the psychiatrist diagnosed the inmate (1) with a mental illness and (2) as dangerous to himself or herself or others and informed DOC of this current diagnosis.

The act requires DOC, before a planned release of such an inmate from a correctional facility, to collaborate with the Judicial Branch and departments of Social Services and Mental Health and Addiction Services, as necessary and within available appropriations, to help the inmate in obtaining housing, mental health treatment services, public benefits, and employment counseling on release.

The act requires DOC to develop a four- to eight-hour per year mental health training program for custodial staff, within available appropriations.

The act requires the DOC commissioner to report to the Appropriations, Judiciary, and Public Health committees by February 1 annually (1) the number of inmates requiring mental health services in the previous calendar year and (2) a description of the services provided by DOC and contracted health care providers, if applicable.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING FOR DOC CUSTODIAL STAFF

The act requires the training to include classroom instruction and written materials provided by a qualified mental health professional in conjunction with a training academy accredited by the American Correctional Association. It must at least include the following topics:

1. preventing suicide and self-injury,

2. recognizing signs of mental illness,

3. communication skills for interacting with inmates with mental illness, and

4. alternatives to discipline and use of force when dealing with inmates with mental illness.

The act requires offering the program to all custodial staff (1) in at least one facility designated by the DOC commissioner starting on July 1, 2009, (2) in at least one additional facility designated by the commissioner starting on July 1, 2010, and (3) in at least one additional facility designated by the commissioner starting on July 1, 2011. The act ends the program on July 1, 2012.

The act also authorizes custodial staff at a facility where female inmates are confined to receive between four and eight hours of training on mental health issues during FY 08, within available appropriations. The training must include gender specific and trauma related mental health issues faced by female inmates.

OLR Tracking: CR: KM: PF: dw