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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 17, 2014 04:47 PM
From: Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone
To: All House members
Subject: Training for law enforcement and minor judiciary to recognize individuals suffering from mental health conditions or intellectual disability.
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce HB 1504 from last session. The language will be essentially the same but with feedback from stakeholders, including law enforcement and the courts, I have made improvements to the bill. The bill passed the House 195-0 and the Senate Judiciary Committee 14-0.

This bill allows for training for police and minor judiciary in the identification and recognition of individuals with a mental health condition or an intellectual disability. As a first step to address the significant problem of individuals with mental health conditions or intellectual disabilities ending up in our prisons, we need to better equip our police and minor judiciary with the tools and training needed to identify these individuals at the earliest point in the criminal justice system and help these individuals get proper treatment. Moreover, with proper training our law enforcement officers may be able to avoid dangerous situations if they can quickly identify an individual experiencing a mental break and use proven crisis intervention techniques to de-escalate a situation.

The number of inmates in our state prison receiving mental health services is staggering. More than 21% of all inmates and 49% of female inmates in state prison receive mental health treatments at a significant cost to the taxpayers. This bill will provide law enforcement with the tools they need to protect themselves and provide judges with the wherewithal to divert certain individuals into treatment rather than prison.

I hope that you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB221