DHMH Workgroup Seeks to Remedy Lack of Criminal Justice Mental Health Beds

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has formed a stakeholder group to analyze and make recommendations to remedy the lack of capacity at state mental hospitals.

The lack of available beds has individuals court ordered to treatment stuck waiting in local jails until treatment beds open — an untenable situation for all involved.

From a DHMH:

“The formation of a workgroup that will find strategies to fix the difficulties our public hospitals have in treating Marylanders in a timely manner is a top priority for the department,” said Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Van T. Mitchell. “This workgroup represents opportunities for us to partner with parties familiar with the dynamics of the system, to hit reset and to find the best way forward quickly.”

The new workgroup will be charged with developing strategies to address the current hospital capacity issue.  The workgroup will review the current admissions, treatment, discharge and after-care processes and will identify strategies to enhance the State’s capacity to meet the current demand for psychiatric in-patient care for both civil and forensically involved citizens.

The workgroup includes representatives of the department, including state, local and facility personnel; the judiciary; public safety; healthcare providers and consumers; and advocacy organizations. Behavioral Health Administration Executive Director Dr. Barbara J. Bazron will be chairwoman of the workgroup.

The work group has already held the first two of four meetings.  The next meeting is scheduled for 8:00 am on July 7, 2016 at the Maryland Department of Transportation. The final meeting is scheduled for August 4, 2016.

For more information and to submit public comments visit the DHMH Forensic Services Work Group webpage.

Previous coverage on Conduit Street: Beds for Mentally Ill Inmates an Administration Priority

Related articles:

With Psychiatric Beds Full, Mentally Ill in Maryland are Stuck in Jails (The Baltimore Sun)

Mental Health Crisis Ensnares Inmates, Judges, Jailers and Hospitals (The Washington Post)

Maryland Lawsuit Seeks Hospital Beds for Mentally Ill Inmates (The Washington Post)

The crisis of mentally ill individuals in jail will be discussed at the 2016 MACo Summer Conference session “Mentally Ill and Incarcerated: A Criminal Justice Crisis.” The session will be held from 2:15-3:15 pm, Friday, August 19 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: