August 29

Mentally Disordered Prisoner



Mentally Disordered Prisoner

Mentally Disordered Prisoner. The Mentally Disordered Prisoner or Mentally Disordered Offender (MDO) Law has two purposes. 1. To protect society from prisoners with dangerous, but treatable mental disorders. and 2. to offer treatment for those prisoners. What is a mentally disordered offender though. in order for the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to give treatment while MDO are in prison they have to meet the following criteria. 1. They have to receive a specific sentence for a violent crime, such as kidnapping. 2. the prisoner has to have a severe mental disorder that isn’t in remission or cant be kept in remission without help. Remission means that the signs and symptoms of the disorder can be controlled by medication or social support. 3. The mental disorder was the cause of the crime committed and why he/she is in prison. 4. The inmate received help for his/her mental disorder while in prison for 90 or more days a year before his/her parole or release. 5. a mental health professional certifies the prisoner is a danger to cause harm to other people because of their mental disorder.

Treatment During Parole

If the prisoner meets the criteria he/she will receive treatment as a condition of a parole as decided by the Board of Parole HearingsMentally Disordered Prisoner. Males will go to Atascadero State Hospital and women will go to Patton State Hospital. The DMH may place the patient on outpatient care, but if they do not in 60 days, the patient can petition for it. To contest as a MDO the inmate (now parolee) will be entitled to be examined by 2 health care professionals and to hearing with the Board. If the judge or jury doesn’t believe the patient doesn’t meet the criteria. They will be released without mandatory treatment.

Treatment After Parole

If the DMH still thinks that the parolee’s mental disorder presents danger to society when the parole finishes. The court can order civil commitment. It can last for a year but if the patient doesn’t improve can be renewed in one year increments.

The Lanterman Petris Short Act

If the patient didn’t meet the legal definition of a mentally disordered prisoner. The Board of Parole Hearings may seek civil commitment which allows involuntary treatment for 72 hours to a year.

If you or a loved one is seeking help with mentally disordered prisoners or offenders, talk to an attorney.

About the author 

Hieu Vu

“To the client, every angle is important, there’s a number of questions, and each person also have their own worries. Some will need a person to listen to them. At the end of the day, it’s more than just delivering legal results. I put a 110% into every person I work. I strive to make sure everyone knows what is going on and is kept in the loop as the case goes on. The practice of law is more than just getting the results in court.” -Hieu Vu

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