Michigan has a longstanding backlog of cases at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry, a state-operated facility that provides diagnostic services to the criminal justice system. The average wait time for a competency examination in Michigan is six months. This results in unnecessarily long pretrial detention of people with mental illness at the expense of taxpayers.
Representative Klint Kesto (R – District 39) seeks to limit delays and increase the number of facilities available to conduct competency examinations. House Bills 5244 and 5246 create strict timelines for mental health evaluations such as requiring psychological examinations to occur within 45 days of a court order.
On February 28, 2018, both bills were voted out of the House with overwhelming support and were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
We commend Representative Kesto for working proactively to address the existing problem of the backlog of mental health evaluations. In addition to this legislation, CAPPS urges the Legislature to provide additional fiscal resources to adequately staff the Center for Forensic Psychiatry.