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HOUSE DOCKET, NO.                 FILED ON: 10/31/2012

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 4372



The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Twelve



An Act relative to the treatment of mentally ill in prisons.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 127 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official

              Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of "Commissioner" the following

              definition: -

              "Mental health professional," a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker (LICSW) or licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) who is licensed to practice in the

              commonwealth pursuant to chapter one hundred and twelve.

              SECTION 2. Said section 1 of said chapter 127, as so appearing , is hereby further amended by

              inserting after the definition of "Parole board" the following definition: -

              "Residential treatment unit," a therapeutic housing unit within a correctional facility that is

              operated for the purpose of providing treatment and rehabilitation for I I prisoners.

              SECTION 3. Section 39 of said chapter 127, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out

              the first paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

              Except as provided in section 39A of this chapter, at the request of the superintendent of any

              correctional institution of the commonwealth, the commissioner may authorize the transfer, for

              such period as s/he may determine, to a segregated unit within any correctional institution of the

              commonwealth, of any inmate whose continued retention in the general institution population is

              detrimental to the program of the institution.

              SECTION 4. Said chapter 127, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after section 39

              the following section:

              Section 39A. Diversion to residential treatment units

              (a) When an inmate is confined to a segregated unit, the superintendent shall arrange for a mental

              health professional to assess the mental health of the inmate and to review the inmate's mental

              health record within twenty-four hours. Inmates remaining in such confinement shall be

              reassessed at a minimum of two times per week thereafter. Mental health assessments shall be

              conducted in a confidential manner.

              (b) As part of all mental health assessments conducted pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section,

              mental health professionals shall identify for diversion or removal from such segregated unit any

              inmate who meets the criteria set forth in paragraph (c) of this section. Inmates identified for

              diversion or removal from a segregated unit shall, within thirty days of the assessment,

              be diverted or removed from such unit and placed in a residential treatment unit or provided with

              clinically appropriate treatment in general population. While awaiting transfer, the mental health status of such inmates shall be afforded the opportunity to speak to a mental health clinician at least five (5) days per week.  Such inmates shall also be afforded the opportunity for in-cell programming and additional out-of-cell recreation.

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