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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
"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.