Competency refers to the individual’s ability to understand their legal situation, its potential outcomes, and participate in a legal proceeding. Restoration is an effort to uphold justice by providing individuals whose competencies are questioned with treatment and services to restore them to competency. This webinar will unpack the dynamics and intricacies of these two concepts.
This session’s instructor is Dr. Amber Simpler. She is the Chief Psychologist at NaphCare, working with mental health providers to improve clinical and operational processes within correctional settings. She also conducts competence evaluations as a Forensic Psychologist.
Specifics of her discussion include:
- The historical roots that established the concept of competence.
- The psychiatric domains that categorize the deficits found among individuals deemed incompetent and functional domains that outline the expectations to stand in trial.
- The concept of restoration and the inception of restorative programs.
- Pivotal cases and legal rulings that founded the concepts of competence and restoration, and defined its purpose and scope.
- The four-step process by which the courts determine an individual’s competency.
- Evaluation and restoration trends that highlight the pervasiveness of competence evaluations and restoration referrals within the criminal justice system.
- The competency crisis that arose from the reduction of psychiatric beds in state hospitals and the inadequate resources to meet the demands of the services required.
- How the class action suits and consent decrees that came as a result of the competency crisis fails to truly address the issue with wait times and the competency crisis.
- The methods that can be/are being employed to manage the competency crisis.
- The restoration models being utilized to address the competency crisis – its eligibility restrictions, scope and limitations, and pros and cons.
- The concept of the continuum of restoration services where individuals are given options across a continuum instead of just two options that tend to be extremes.
- The goals of competency restoration and the treatment modalities available in restoration programs.
- A look into the elements and considerations of a model program that aims to address the goals of competency restoration.
- Jail-based restoration programs: It’s part in the continuum to address those who fall in the middle level of care.
- Case studies of states that implemented a jail-based restoration program highlighting their approach, goals, features, the generally positive outcomes, and other nuances of the specific programs.
- A glimpse into the advantages and disadvantages of jail-based restoration programs to both the state hospital systems and the corrections and law enforcement side.
- The debate whether to medicate or not, and the specific conditions where involuntary medication can be appropriate.
- Considerations and components to take into account when developing a jail-based restoration program for your jurisdiction.
Questions from the audience were about:
- Provisions for pre-trial detainees to meet with their attorneys in a jail-based restoration program setting.
- National survey and further studies to evaluate the need for more competency services.
- The obligation of corrections in identifying potentially mentally impaired people within their facilities.
- The issues that those with mental deficits experience navigating the justice system and how it hinders the right to a speedy trial.
Resources and Handouts
- “Interesting information about the JBCT as this is something that’s being discussed, as well as outpatient competency restoration in [specific states].” — Brandi
- “That this is a problem all over [the country]. It was nice to see the maps, statistics, and what other jails are doing.” — Donna
- “The detailed information and in-depth perspective of the effect of competency within the criminal justice system. It was also interesting and educational to learn how other states were impacted.” — Josee
- “Dr. Simpler, great presentation!!!” — Katie
- “Excellent speaker and material. There just isn’t enough discussion around mentally ill offenders. This was great.” — Nathalie
- “The mental health crisis affecting our society is a major problem. It is nice to get educated on what others are doing in their correctional facilities to help with the restoration of competency for these people. It is a topic that I do not have a lot of knowledge on but I am eager to learn more about it.” — Alesha
- “This was one of the most professional presentations I’ve attended.” — David
- “This was a terrific overview of this topic on a national level. loved it.” — Frederica