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Legislative panel on mental health, criminal justice approves full slate of bills

Lawmakers have passed five bills to help treat people who have mental health disorders in the criminal justice system

DENVER — A panel of lawmakers reviewing treatment of those with mental health disorders in the criminal justice system on Wednesday voted to advance a full slate of five bills, including measures on those found not guilty by reason of insanity, pretrial diversion programs, emergency mental health holds and housing.

The Treatment of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System headed into its final meeting of the year needing to trim the 10 bills it authorized for drafting down to five. That’s the total that can be submitted by a panel working during the legislative interim to Legislative Council, the committee that vets the legal implications and other factors before bills can be introduced.

Two of those 10 drafts were withdrawn ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, while the committee’s members volunteered to withdraw three more.

Included in that trio were two from Boulder Democratic Rep. Judy Amabile: one seeking to make changes to the procedures for when a defendant is found incompetent to proceed that she said a different interim panel with more cash backing was willing to take up, and a second that would create statewide jail standards that Amabile said was broader than the panel’s purview. The Boulder Democrat said she would run the jail standards bill on her own during the next legislative session.

>Read more at Colorado Politics 

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