PRINTER'S NO. 2757
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
INTRODUCED BY WATERS, CALTAGIRONE, V. BROWN, COHEN, DAVIDSON AND QUINN, DECEMBER 9, 2013
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, DECEMBER 9, 2013
1Amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the
2Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for a
3mental health court division.
4The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
5hereby enacts as follows:
6Section 1. Section 951 of Title 42 of the Pennsylvania
7Consolidated Statutes is amended to read:
8§ 951. Court divisions.
9(a) Philadelphia County.--The Court of Common Pleas of
10Philadelphia County shall have the following divisions:
11(1) Trial division.
12(2) Orphans' court division.
13(3) Family court division.
14(b) Allegheny County.--The Court of Common Pleas of
15Allegheny County shall have the following divisions:
16(1) Civil division.
17(2) Criminal division.
18(3) Orphans' court division.
1(4) Family division.
2(c) Other separate orphans' court divisions.--The courts of
3common pleas of Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Cambria, Chester, Dauphin,
4Delaware, Erie, Fayette, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne,
5Montgomery, Schuylkill, Washington, Westmoreland and York
6counties shall each have a separate orphans' court division.
7(d) Judicial districts having no separate orphans' court
8division.--In each judicial district having no separate orphans'
9court division, there shall be an orphans' court division
10composed of the court of common pleas of that judicial district.
11(e) Change in size of divisions.--The number of judges
12constituting a division may be increased or reduced by order of
13the governing authority.
14(f) Mental health court division.--The court of common pleas
15of any county or judicial district may establish a separate
16mental health court division.
17Section 2. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:
18§ 954. Mental health court divisions.
19(a) Mental health court division.--The court of common pleas
20of any county or judicial district may apply for a grant to
21establish a mental health court division.
22(b) Objectives.--The mental health court division shall have
23the following objectives:
24(1) Increased cooperation between the criminal justice
25and mental health systems.
26(2) Faster case processing time.
27(3) Improved access to necessary services and support.
28(4) Increased services for offenders with mental
30(5) Reduced recidivism.
1(6) Continued judicial supervision, including periodic
2review of preliminarily qualified offenders with mental
3illness who are charged with misdemeanors or nonviolent
5(7) Coordinated delivery of services, including:
6(i) Specialized training of law enforcement and
7judicial personnel to identify and address the needs of a
8mentally ill offender.
9(ii) Voluntary outpatient or inpatient treatment, in
10the least restrictive manner appropriate, as determined
11by the court, that carries with it the possibility of
12dismissal of charges or reduced sentencing upon
13successful completion of treatment.
14(iii) Centralized case management involving the
15consolidation of all of a mentally ill person's cases,
16including violations of probation, and the coordination
17of all mental health treatment plans and social services,
18including life skills training, such as housing
19placement, vocational training, education, job placement,
20health care and relapse prevention for each participant
21who requires those services.
22(iv) Continuing supervision of treatment plan
23compliance for a term not to exceed the maximum allowable
24sentence or probation for the charged relevant offense
25and, to the extent practicable, continuity of psychiatric
26care at the end of the supervised period.
27(c) Contact.--The mental health court division shall provide
28a single point of contact where a defendant with a mental
29illness may receive court-ordered treatment and support services
30in connection with a diversion from prosecution, a sentencing
1alternative or a term of probation or parole.
2(d) Criteria.--A court of common pleas that establishes a
3mental health court division pursuant to this section may
4provide the following through the adoption of local rules:
5(1) Referral to the mental health court division.
6(2) Acceptance, participation and completion of mental
7health court programs.
8(3) Utilization of designated staff, including, but not
9limited to, a judge of the court of common pleas, mental
10health review officer, prosecutor, public defender, county
11mental health liaison and probation officer.
12(4) Initial and ongoing training for designated staff,
13as needed, on the nature of mental illness and on the
14treatment and supportive services available in the community.
15(5) Utilization of community mental health providers and
16other agencies to offer defendants access to individualized
18(e) Application of law.--Proceedings conducted by a judge of
19the court of common pleas or a mental health review officer
20pursuant to Article IV of the act of July 9, 1976 (P.L.817,
21No.143), known as the Mental Health Procedures Act, shall be
22conducted by the mental health court division.
23(f) Grants.--The Administrative Office, in consultation with
24the Department of Public Welfare Office of Mental Health and
25Substance Abuse Services, the Department of Corrections and the
26Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, shall establish
27minimum standards, funding schedules and procedures for awarding
28grants for the establishment of mental health court divisions,
29which shall take into consideration, but not be limited to, the
1(1) Percentage of the incarcerated or supervised
2population with mental illness.
3(2) Demonstrated ability to administer the program.
4(3) Demonstrated ability to develop effective responses
5to provide treatment and stability for persons with mental
7(4) Demonstrated history of maximizing Federal, State,
8local and private funding sources.
9(5) Likelihood that the program will continue to operate
10after State grant funding ends.
11(g) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following
12words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this
14"Mental illness." A diagnosable mental, behavioral or
15emotional disorder that:
16(1) is of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic
17criteria within the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and
18Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the
19American Psychiatric Association; and
20(2) has resulted in functional impairment that
21substantially interferes with or limits one or more major
23"Preliminarily qualified offender with mental illness." A
25(1) previously or currently has been diagnosed by a
26qualified mental health professional as having a mental
28(2) is deemed eligible by a designated judge.
29Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.