Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services as a result of a legal settlement were required to improve the transfer and treatment of individuals in state psychiatric hospitals.
IdeaCrew delivered a Competency Evaluation and Treatment Guide that significantly reduced transfer and treatment of individuals including criminal defendants in county prisons restoring them to competency.
Criminal defendants in Pennsylvania routinely wait months, sometimes years, in county prisons before being transferred to state psychiatric hospitals for treatment to restore them to competency. That was the lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (PA).
In 2018, PA Department of Human Services contracted with IdeaCrew to create an operational improvement plan to implement recommendations to comply with terms of an agreement with ACLU regarding the treatment of individuals in the state psychiatric hospitals within the commonwealth. IdeaCrew delivered the plan in two phases within 3 months focusing on three aspects of treatment for those patients who were sent to the state hospitals for competency to stand trial evaluation and/or for treatment to restore competency.
What We Did
- Conducted stakeholder sessions to gather input on definitions and recommendations, and to build consensus ahead of working groups being convened across the Commonwealth
- Worked with the Court and clinical staff to develop shared definitions and procedures for managing individuals to be restored to competency in a timely manner;
- Developed Commonwealth-wide standards and policies for jail-based competency restoration
- Delivered recommendations on Commonwealth-wide standards and policies for community-based outpatient competency restoration.
- Facilitated specific affinity groups (courts, defense bar, prosecution bar, mental health professionals, law enforcement and corrections officials, state and local government leaders) for their review and final comment.
- Synthesized feedback from more than 300 participants working through issues to reach consensus.
Ultimately, the IdeaCrew team created a Competency Evaluation and Treatment Guide that is widely circulated throughout the Commonwealth for use locally and in the state hospitals. Our work with the commonwealth resulted in wait times being significantly reduced from days up to only a few weeks for criminal defendants in county prisons being transferred to state psychiatric hospitals for treatment to restore them to competency.