(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.–The Legislature finds that many jail inmates who have serious mental illnesses and who are committed to state forensic mental health treatment facilities for restoration of competency to proceed could be served more effectively and at less cost in community-based alternative programs. The Legislature further finds that many people who have serious mental illnesses and who have been discharged from state forensic mental health treatment facilities could avoid returning to the criminal justice and forensic mental health systems if they received specialized treatment in the community. Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to create the Forensic Hospital Diversion Pilot Program to serve offenders who have mental illnesses or co-occurring mental illnesses and substance use disorders and who are involved in or at risk of entering state forensic mental health treatment facilities, prisons, jails, or state civil mental health treatment facilities.
(2) DEFINITIONS.–As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Best practices” means treatment services that incorporate the most effective and acceptable interventions available in the care and treatment of offenders who are diagnosed as having mental illnesses or co-occurring mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 916.185
- Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
- Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
(b) “Community forensic system” means the community mental health and substance use forensic treatment system, including the comprehensive set of services and supports provided to offenders involved in or at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system.
(c) “Evidence-based practices” means interventions and strategies that, based on the best available empirical research, demonstrate effective and efficient outcomes in the care and treatment of offenders who are diagnosed as having mental illnesses or co-occurring mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
(3) CREATION.–There is authorized a Forensic Hospital Diversion Pilot Program to provide competency-restoration and community-reintegration services in either a locked residential treatment facility when appropriate or a community-based facility based on considerations of public safety, the needs of the individual, and available resources.
(a) The department may implement a Forensic Hospital Diversion Pilot Program modeled after the Miami-Dade Forensic Alternative Center, taking into account local needs and resources in Okaloosa County, in conjunction with the First Judicial Circuit in Okaloosa County; in Duval County, in conjunction with the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Duval County; in Broward County, in conjunction with the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in Broward County; and in Miami-Dade County, in conjunction with the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County.
(b) If the department elects to create and implement the program, the department shall include a comprehensive continuum of care and services that use evidence-based practices and best practices to treat offenders who have mental health and co-occurring substance use disorders.
(c) The department and the corresponding judicial circuits may implement this section if existing resources are available to do so on a recurring basis. The department may request budget amendments pursuant to chapter 216 to realign funds between mental health services and community substance abuse and mental health services in order to implement this pilot program.
(4) ELIGIBILITY.–Participation in the Forensic Hospital Diversion Pilot Program is limited to offenders who:
(a) Are 18 years of age or older.
(b) Are charged with a felony of the second degree or a felony of the third degree.
(c) Do not have a significant history of violent criminal offenses.
(d) Are adjudicated incompetent to proceed to trial or not guilty by reason of insanity pursuant to this part.
(e) Meet public safety and treatment criteria established by the department for placement in a community setting.
(f) Otherwise would be admitted to a state mental health treatment facility.
(5) TRAINING.–The Legislature encourages the Florida Supreme Court, in consultation and cooperation with the Florida Supreme Court Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in the Courts, to develop educational training for judges in the pilot program areas which focuses on the community forensic system.
(6) RULEMAKING.–The department may adopt rules to administer this section.