BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1960
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 30, 2014

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                    AB 1960 (Perea) - As Amended:  April 21, 2014 

          Policy Committee:                              Public  
          SafetyVote:  7-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:              No

           SUMMARY  

          This bill requires a state hospital director or clinician to  
          obtain state summary criminal history information for patients  
          committed to the Department of State Hospitals (DSH). The  
          information is to be used to assess the violence risk of a  
          patient, to assess appropriate placement of a patient, for  
          treatment purposes, and to determine progress and/or fitness for  
          release. This bill:

          1)Provides the information may be obtained through use of the  
            California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS)  
            and requires law enforcement personnel to cooperate with  
            requests for state summary criminal history information  
            authorized pursuant to this bill.

          2)Limits access to the information to the director of the state  
            hospital and clinicians, who must receive CLETS training,  
            pursuant to Department of Justice training, compliance and  
            inspection protocols.

          3)Prohibits the use of this information for any purpose other  
            than those described and punishes, as a misdemeanor, provision  
            of information to a person not authorized to receive the  
            information. Requires the information to be destroyed within  
            30 days of discharge.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)Negligible cost to DSH, as a CLETS terminal used by DSH police  
            is proximate.









                                                                  AB 1960
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          2)Minor absorbable costs for clinician CLETS training.     

           COMMENTS  

           1)Rationale  . According to the author and proponents, because  
            virtually all commitments to state hospitals are now criminal  
            justice-related, making criminal history information more  
            accessible to DSH staff is crucial. Proponents point to an  
            increasing incidence of violence in state hospitals and the  
            recent implementation of personal duress alarm systems and  
            pre-admission violence risk assessments as evidence of the  
            need for more consistent criminal history information to help  
            formulate placement and treatment plans.
             
             Currently, state summary criminal history information is  
            furnished to the director of a state hospital for the  
            following classes of patients: (a) persons committed for  
            treatment following a successful plea of not guilty by reason  
            of insanity; (b) persons found mentally incompetent to stand  
            trial; (c) persons found to be, as a result of mental disorder  
            a danger to self or others. 

            The author and proponents, including the state hospitals,  
            contend the increasingly forensic mental health population,  
            which includes Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) and Mentally  
            Disordered Offenders (MDOs) - patient classes for which DSH  
            does not generally receive criminal history information -  
            requires consistent and timely information for consistent,  
            effective, and safe programming. 

           2)The DSH current population  (4,967) at Atascadero, Coalinga,  
            Metropolitan, Napa, and Patton State Hospitals comprises 1,350  
            persons found not guilty by reason of insanity; 1,283 persons  
            found incompetent to stand trial; 258 mentally ill CDCR  
            commitments; 1,154 mentally disordered offenders; 897 sexually  
            violent predators; and 25 mentally disordered sex offenders.

           3)State summary Criminal History Information  , commonly referred  
            to as a rap sheet, is the master record of information  
            compiled by the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the  
            identification and criminal history of any person, including  
            name, date of birth, physical description, fingerprints,  
            photographs, arrests, dispositions, etc.  

           4)Current law  authorizes DOJ to furnish state summary criminal  








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            history information to specified entities upon a showing of a  
            need, provided that when information is furnished to assist an  
            agency, officer, or official of state or local government, a  
            public utility, or any other entity, specified restrictions  
            are observed.   

            Provides that the criminal history record required to be  
            furnished to a state hospital director is transmitted by the  
            court with the request for evaluation or with the order  
            committing the person to a treatment facility, except that the  
            director of a state hospital may receive the state summary  
            criminal history information from the law enforcement agency  
            that referred the person for evaluation and treatment, as  
            specified.  

           5)Support  includes DSH (sponsor), CA Council of Mental Health  
            Agencies, the CA State Sheriffs Association, the CA Statewide  
            Law Enforcement Association, the CA Association of Psychiatric  
            Technicians. According to DSH Director Cliff Allenby, "Given  
            that 96% of new state hospital patients are admitted through  
            the criminal justice system, this information is essential for  
            hospital clinicians to complete accurate violence risk  
            assessments, develop individualized patient treatment plans,  
            and provide periodic reports to the committing court on a  
            patient's progress or fitness for release."  

           6)Opposition.  The ACLU and CA Attorneys for Criminal Justice  
            contend the bill is overly broad and should be narrowed based  
            on need, with limited access and destruction of the rap sheet  
            after the risk has been assessed and placement and treatment  
            have been determined. 

            (The author has amended the bill to address ACLU's stated  
            concern regarding training for clinicians who have access to  
            the histories.)  

             
            Analysis Prepared by  :    Geoff Long / APPR. / (916) 319-2081