Substance Use Disorder Treatment In Criminal Justice System
Substance use disorders - alternatives to arrest and criminal charges for persons in need of substance use treatment - treatment in prisons and jails - record sealing - harm reduction program - appropriation. The act enacts policies related to the involvement of persons with substance use disorders in the criminal justice system. The Colorado commission on criminal and juvenile justice is required to study and make recommendations concerning:
- Alternatives to filing criminal charges against individuals with substance use disorders who have been arrested for drug-related offenses;
- Best practices for investigating unlawful opioid distribution in Colorado; and
- A process for automatically sealing criminal records for drug offense convictions.
Jails that receive funding through the jail-based behavioral health services program must have a policy in place on or before January 1, 2020, that describes how medication-assisted treatment will be provided, when necessary, to individuals in the jail. The jail may enter into agreements with community agencies and organizations to assist in the development and administration of medication-assisted treatment.
The department of corrections (DOC) is required to allow medication-assisted treatment to be provided to persons who were receiving treatment in a local jail prior to being transferred to the custody of the DOC. The DOC may enter into agreements with community agencies and organizations to assist in the development and administration of medication-assisted treatment.
The act adds to an existing legislative declaration that the substance abuse trend and response task force should formulate a response to current and emerging substance abuse problems from the criminal justice, prevention, and treatment sectors that includes the use of drop-off treatment services, mobile and walk-in crisis centers, and withdrawal management programs as an alternative to entry into the criminal justice system for offenders of low-level drug offenses.
The act creates a simplified process for sealing convictions for level 4 drug felonies, all drug misdemeanors, and any offense committed prior to October 1, 2013, that would have been a level 4 drug felony or drug misdemeanor if committed on or after October 1, 2013. A defendant may file a motion to seal records 3 years or more after final disposition of the criminal proceedings. Conviction records may be sealed only after a hearing and upon court order. This provision of the act is contingent upon House Bill 19-1275 being enacted and becoming law.
The harm reduction grant program is established to reduce health risks associated with drug use and improve coordination between law enforcement agencies, public health agencies, and community-based organizations. Grants may be awarded to nonprofit organizations, public health agencies, and law enforcement agencies. The department of regulatory agencies shall review the grant program prior to its scheduled repeal in 2024.
The following appropriations are made for the 2019-20 state fiscal year:
- $1,963,832 is appropriated from the general fund to the department of human services for use by the office of behavioral health;
- $492,750 is appropriated from the general fund to the department of corrections;
- $1,800,000 is appropriated from the marijuana tax cash fund to the harm reduction grant program, which the department of public health and environment is responsible for the accounting related to such appropriation; and
- $40,300 is appropriated from the general fund to the department of public safety for use by the division of criminal justice for administrative services.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)