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Issue Briefs

Mental Health Medication in the Criminal Justice System (19-01)

Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Public Health

According to the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC), between 2012 to 2017, the number of inmates who had moderate to severe mental health needs increased by 7 percent.  Additionally, a steep increase in court-ordered competency evaluations and restorative treatments has caused a shortage of psychiatric hospital beds in the state, resulting in many offenders with mental health disorders remaining in jail while waiting for an evaluation or treatment.  The increase in mental health needs in the criminal justice system means prisons and jails must provide necessary treatment, such as medication, to those in their care.  This issue brief provides an overview of how mental health medication is administered in the criminal justice system and information on recent legislation focused on reducing the number of individuals being detained while waiting for treatment.

Pursuant to HJR20-1007, the Second Regular Session of the 72nd General Assembly is Temporarily Adjourned until 10:00 a.m., Monday, March 30, 2020. 

COVID-19 Resources

Temporary Guidelines for Review and Comment Meetings

The legislature will meet in limited session on Monday, March 30th. The Capitol will be open for the duration of the session for those with essential business related to the session. The building will not be available for public tours. People without essential business are encouraged to access the session through the General Assembly website and Colorado Channel.  Anybody with essential business related to the session will be required to practice appropriate social distancing measures.