Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act

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Issue: Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act

Impact:

The legislation includes funding for Mental Health Courts and diversion programs. 

Position:

Court leaders have supported federal funding to assist the states to effectively address offenders with mental-illness. Most recently, the Conference of State Court Administrators adopted a resolution in support of reauthorization of MIOTCRA. (COSCA Resolution 12-M-5)

Summary:

In 2003, then Senator DeWine introduced the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA), which was approved by Congress and became PL 108-414 on 10/30/04.   Grants under S 1194 can be used to create/expand: (1) mental health courts or court-based programs; (2) programs that offer specialized training to criminal or juvenile justice agency officers and employees and mental health personnel in identifying symptoms in order to respond appropriately to individuals with mental illnesses; (3) programs that support cooperative efforts by criminal, juvenile justice, and mental health agencies to promote public safety by offering mental health and substance abuse treatment services; and (4) programs that support intergovernmental cooperation between State and local governments with respect to the mentally ill offender.

In September 2008. Congress reauthorized the MIOTCRA through 2013 (P.L. 110-416).

Status:

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Representative Rich Nugent (R-FL) developed companion bills, the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act of 2013, to reauthorize MIOTCRA for $40M per year in grants from FY 2015 through FY 2019.  The measure also includes a new provision that would allow MIOTCRA funds to be used to support Veterans Treatment Courts.  Grants for veterans’ programs, including peer-to-peer counseling, alternatives to incarceration, and transitional services, would be controlled by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Veterans Affairs. No more than 20 percent of the MIOTCRA grants could be used for veterans’ programs, and priority would be given to applications that demonstrate collaboration between criminal justice, mental health, substance abuse and veterans’ service agencies.  Representative Nugent introduced H.R. 401 on 1/23/13 and Senator Franken introduced S. 162 on 1/28/13.

On 6/20/13, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved S. 162.  It is not clear when the measure will be considered by the full Senate.