On October 1st, 2014

Governor Signs Legislation To Improve Safety in California State Hospitals

CSLEA-Bear-Badge-LogoOn September 28, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed four Assembly Bills aimed at increasing safety in California's five state hospitals.  The following four bills become law January 1, 2015:

Assembly Bill 1340 - (Asemblymember Katcho Achadjian) will create enhanced treatment programs to house and assist those state hospital patients who exhibit highly  aggressive and dangerous behaviors.  The residences established at Atascadero, Coalinga, Napa and Patton State Hospitals will include intensive staffing, programs and treatments to help this high-risk population and will include upholding patients' rights through hearing and ombudsman processes.

Assembly Bill 1960 -  (Assemblymember Henry Perea)  will allow state hospital law enforcement and licensed mental health personnel to access and review the criminal history of patients, allowing mental health professionals to better gear programs and services toward a patient's behavioral need.

Assembly Bill 2186 - (Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal) will allow medication orders to follow state hospital patients wherever they go, creating more consistent care when patients are transferred.

Assembly Bill 2625 -  (Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian) requires that, if the California Department of State Hospitals determines a patient referred to a state hospital is unlikely to regain sanity, reports must be submitted back to the courts and the courts are charged with swiftly finding appropriate mental health care and settings for that individual.

"This much needed legislation is long overdue," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA)  President Alan Barcelona.  "These changes are a start to improving safety for our CSLEA members who are State Hospital police officers.  We would like to thank the Assemblymembers who paved the way with these bills and the entire Safety Now Coalition, which CSLEA is a part of.   Our thanks to the Governor for recognizing the importance and urgency of these safety issues.  Increasing the safety of patients and staff must be a top priority as these hospitals are treating more and more patients who have, or are accused of,  committing very, heinous crimes."

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