Bruce Williams

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					     Mental Retardation and the
      Criminal Justice System

   Vulnerabilities at all stages of the CJS
   Attorney General Dick Thornburgh
   President’s Committee (1966)
   Criminal Justice System and Mental
    Retardation (1991)
   No People with MR in California Prisons?
   Estimates of those incarcerated who
    have DD
     Regional Centers in California
   Non-profit agencies which contract with
    the state Department of Developmental
   21 in California (7 in Los Angeles County)
   Provides case management and contracts
    for services—e.g. residential, day
    programs, behavior intervention
    Efforts to Address the Problem
               in California
   Los Angeles County Law Enforcement
    Liaison and Diversion Statute
   Criminal Justice Task Force for
    Developmental Disabilities
   SCLARC’s Forensic Project (1997)
   Requirement for “Forensic Expertise” at all
    regional centers (2000)
   ARCA Forensic Task Force
SCLARC          Forensic Project Components

1.   Juvenile Liaison Program

2.   Training

3.   Multi-Agency Advisory Board

4.   Forensic Assessment Team
Multi-Agency Advisory Board Members
Department of Mental Health

County Probation Department (Adult and Juvenile)

County Department of Children and Family Services

County Public Defender (Adult and Juvenile)

County District Attorney & City Attorney

Sheriffs Department

Los Angeles Police Department

State Parole Office (Department of Corrections)

Los Angeles County Regional Centers

Forensic Project Representatives
       Steps of the Criminal Justice
    Direct service and advocacy must be provided at
    these stages of involvement in the criminal
    justice system:
 Prevention                  Preparation for Court
 Point of arrest             Court and Sentencing
 Deflection                  Residential placement
 Jail                         and clinical treatment
 Contacts with court         Follow-up with the court
  attorneys                   Prison
 Contacts with Parole and
  Probation Officers

          • Men’s Central Jail
  • Twin Towers Correctional Facility
      •Wayside/Central Facilities
         •LEL: Bobby Vargas

    Voice: (213) 687-8727 or 213-744-8860
             Fax: (213) 687-8728
Law Enforcement Liaison interviews inmate and provides
information, screening, and referral to Forensic
Assessment Team and other services from all seven Los
Angeles regional centers—if inmate is already a regional
center client.
For Non-Clients: Assessment and Screening

  L.E.L. facilitates Regional Center eligibility by:

     •   Screening for Regional Center eligibility--Various Screening tools
         are used to determine appropriateness of continuing with RC evaluation

     • Completing a psycho-social assessment if screened as probably

     • Coordinating the completion of a court ordered medical,
       psychological, and other evaluations and services deemed
Forensic Assessment Team (FAT)
   Case review and analysis
   Second Tuesday (and as needed)
   Court recommendations
   Jail recommendations
   Treatment recommendations
   Follow-up activities
   Evolution of FAT
        Court Recommendations

   Sentencing – Diversion, Probation, etc.
   Terms of diversion/probation
   Competency to Stand Trial - assessment; recommendations
    for training, placement, and terms
   Identification of needed resources (home, therapy,
   Consideration of MR as mitigating factor in sentencing
   Contacts/recommendations to Defense Attorney (Probation,
    if applicable; possibly DA or CA)
   Letter to court from FAT
     Diversion of Mentally Retarded Defendants
                (Penal Code 1001.20)
   Defendants with Mental Retardation
   Only for misdemeanors
   Single agency or dual agency
   Applies at any stage of criminal proceedings
   Regional Center’s diversion plan
   Reports to court (every 6 months)
   If the defendant subsequently fails…..
   If terms are met…..
   Diversion is for no longer than 2 years
            Mitigating Factors
   People with MR may lack competency to
    act knowingly, willfully, and independently

   As a result they may have a decreased
    level of culpability even if they have
    committed an offense

   Supreme Court Atkins Decision (2002)
      Assessment of Mitigating
    Factors (1999-2000) (N = 76)
   Perceived Guilty – 82%

   Diminished understanding of wrongfulness      5%
   Immature curiosity                            7%
   Vulnerability to influence by others         24%
   Poor understanding of “rights”                3%
   Poor ability to see consequences to others   13%
   Poor impulse control                         36%
   Poor learning history (deviant experience)    8%
   No identified mitigating factor              29%
    Trial Competency Assessment
   Standard – Understand charges & assist
    defense counsel
   Person with mild MR may be CST – one
    psychologist found IQ below about 62
    very likely to be NCST
   Court has 3-year jurisdiction – terms for
    placement etc. just as diversion and
    Treatment Recommendations
   Residential (include consideration of level of restrictiveness
   Day Program/School
   Clinical
      Medical

      Psychiatric & medication

      Behavioral treatment (including restrictions,
       contingencies, and goals for lessened
   Counseling
   Specialty services (drug treatment [include random testing];
    sex therapy...)
        Regional Center Services -
   Adult and Children Residential Facilities
   Facility “Levels” – Level 4 for severe behavior
    problems (These are not locked)
   Level 4 facilities specializing in offenders and
    substance abusers
   Specialized rate facilities
   ILS and SLS
   Locked IMD’s
   Developmental Centers & PC 2684 & WIC 4418
    Regional Center Services – Day
   Behavior Management

   Supported Employment

   Vendored Substance Abuse Program
       Regional Center Services –
        Therapeutic Intervention
   Vendored & generic mental health
   Generic and vendored substance abuse
   Vendored sex offender treatment &
   Gang intervention
   Jail Liaison & Regional Center Module
   Forensic Assessment Team
     Characteristics of Consumers
   From all seven LA County Regional

   85% male

   86% adults (58% 21-40)
  Levels of Mental Retardation
Level of Retardation                  IQ Range       (a)           Percentage of Cases

None                                         85+                         2%

Borderline I.F.                          71 to 84                       13%

Mild                                    50 to 70                        77%

Moderate                                 35 to 49                        7%

Severe                                   20 to 34                        1%

Profound                                 Below 20                        0%

(a) Source: AAMD Classification in Mental Retardation, 1992 Revision
         Mental Health Diagnoses
   No Mental Disorders (Only Mental Retardation)       50%

    Major Mental Health Disorders
                   Schizophrenia                        11%
                   Depression (Includes Bipolar)        12%
                   Psychosis (Not Otherwise Specified    7%
                             or Atypical)
                   Post Traumatic Stress Disorder       3%

    Developmental Disorders
                   Attention Deficit Disorder           5%
                   Oppositional Defiant Disorder        2%
                   Conduct Disorder                     6%
                   Autism                               2%
                   Other                                1%

    Minor Mental Health Disorders
                   Dysthymia                            3%
                   Personality Disorders                5%
                   Intermittent Explosive Disorder      3%
                   Other                                1%
  Court Disposition
            (Years 3-4)

Released/Dismissed             20%

Not Competent to Stand Trial   20%

Diversion                      20%

Probation                      29%

Sentenced to Jail              4%

Sentenced to Prison            7%
  Clients' Residential Status
       Prior to Offense
Independent                           14%

Supported Living                        8%

Family Home                           47%

Residential Facility                  19%

State Hospital                          1%

Other                                   9%

Unknown                                 2%

No F.A.T. clients were in Developmental Centers or SNF
or ICF homes at the time of their offense.
Day Program and School Status Prior to Offense
                (Year 1 only)

         School                        14 (20%)

         Sheltered Workshop              4 ( 6%)

         Behavior Management Program     9 (13%)

         Supported Employment            7 (10%)

         Competitive Employment          3 ( 4%)

         No Work, Program, or School    33 (46%)
            Criminal Recidivism
   68% subsequent to release from prison
       (within 3 years)
   43% for sex offenders (any crime)
   5.3% for sex offenders (sex crimes only)
   2.5% for rapists (for another rape)
   40% of reoffending sex crimes were within 1
    year of release

Source: Bureau of Justice statistics 1994 (last year
      Recidivism - Project Years 3 and 4
       1999-2001 (12 to 34 months later)
No reoffense                                                      74%
        (i.e. additional
        criminal charges)

No reoffense but behaviors                                        11%
        occurred for which the person
        may have been arrested
        (includes 2 probation violations)

No or little opportunity to re-offend             16
        (incarcerated, jail, or D.C.)

Reoffended                                                        15%

Unknown                                           10

         (a) Percentages are based on only known outcomes where there was an opportunity to
     Recidivism - Year 2
1998-1999 (1-11 months later)

2 of 61 (3%)

None of 12 with sex offenses
Recidivism - Year 1
1997-1998 (2 years later)
14 of 67 (21%)

None of 7 with sex offenses
   With good regional center services
    working together with courts to provide
    reasonable, just sentencing and, when
    needed, court-ordered terms to help
    ensure compliance, recidivism can be
    dramatically reduced to a rate significantly
    below that of the general population.

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