Civil Commitment Bill Passes Committee, Moves to Judiciary

The Civil Commitment Bill implements recommendations from the 2013 Mentally Ill and Dangerous Commitments Stakeholders Group report. The legislation requires a review every three years for those civilly committed as mentally ill and dangerous. In addition to allowing the Special Review Board the ability to identify barriers and obstacles, the Board would also have to report trends in these barriers to treatment to the Commissioner of Human Services each year.

In 2013, the Legislative Auditor issued a report on Minnesota’s State Operated Services (SOS) for those who were committed to the Commissioner of Human Services as mentally ill and dangerous. The OLA recommended the Legislature provide for periodic court review of the civilly committed individual. The evaluation also included recommendations on reducing the number of individuals who were receiving a higher level of treatment than necessary.

In light of these recommendations, the Legislature created a stakeholder group to provide recommendations addressing the concerns highlighted in the OLA report. The Stakeholders Group issued its report in December 2013. S.F. 702 will implement two of the thirteen recommendations: require that each person civilly committed as mentally ill and dangerous have a review by the Special Review Board at least once every three years and to allow the Special Review Board to have the additional responsibility of reviewing the barriers or obstacles to a patient progressing in treatment. The legislation passed on a unanimous voice vote to Judiciary. (S.F. 702)

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