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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 22, 2017 03:26 PM
From: Representative Patrick J. Harkins
To: All House members
Subject: Criminal Justice and Mental Health Reinvestment Act
In the near future, I plan on re-introducing legislation (House Bill 1047) that will create the Mental Health Advisory Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). It’s purposes will be as follows:
  1. Participate in advising the commission on the provision of services to individuals with mental illness and who are involved in the juvenile or adult criminal justice systems;
  2. To advise on disbursement of funds for this purpose;
  3. Advise the commission on the definition, development, and priorities for the provision of available services; and
  4. To provide assistance to the commission on any collateral matter relating to the provision of such mental health services.

Along with this mandate, my legislation will establish the Mental Health and Justice Grant Program to assist in planning, implementing, and expanding initiatives that increase public safety, avert increased spending, and improve the effectiveness of treatment services for the target population.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) estimates that twenty percent of state inmates suffer from mental illness. Furthermore, with the closing of traditional state hospitals, the criminal justice system has become the primary receiver of such individuals.

Unfortunately, like nearly everything, application of funding for resources is key to addressing this problem, and I am certain you can agree this problem is a significant one. This advisory committee, with its power to award grants related to the issue, will represent a robust beginning.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation

Introduced as HB1265