Department of State Hospitals (DSH) - Metropolitan LA: Home

Patient Population | Hospital Staff | Treatment and Programs | Community

Metropolitian State Hospital Sign Image
Metropolitian State Hospital


Opening in 1916, this state hospital was once a self-sufficient facility with its own farm, dairy and animals. Today, DSH-Metropolitan is located in Norwalk in Los Angeles County. The hospital has an open campus within a security perimeter. Due to community concerns, this facility does not accept patients with criminal history that includes murder, sex crimes, or escape. The hospital does not accept voluntary admissions.



Metropolitan Hospital [Graphics]

Administration Building


The hospital operates over 700 beds. The four primary commitment categories of patients treated at DSH-Metropolitan are described below:

Conservatorship Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act

Conservatorships are for severely disabled individuals who represent a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness. They have not been charged with a crime, but are instead referred by local community mental health programs through involuntary civil commitment procedures pursuant to the LPS Act. Those whose psychiatric conditions require a higher level of care and cannot be treated in locked facilities or board-and-care homes are sent to a state hospital for treatment. LPS patients leave state hospitals when their county of residence places them in a different facility, or home with their families, or they have successfully petitioned the court to remove the conservatorship.

Incompetent to Stand Trial (PC 1370)

Felony defendants found incompetent by a court are placed in a state hospital where the focus of treatment is to stabilize their condition and return them to trial competency so the court may adjudicate their pending charges. Those patients who are determined to be unlikely to regain competency are returned to the court to determine future status which may include an LPS Conservatorship.

Mentally Disordered Offenders (Penal Code Section 2962/2972)

Parolees who committed one of a specified list of crimes and who were treated for a severe mental disorder connected to their original crime can be committed to a state hospital as a condition of parole for a period not to exceed the length of their parole term.  If the person still requires treatment at the end of their parole term, they can be civilly committed under PC2972 if it is determined that they are a substantial danger to themselves or others. These commitments last for one year and may be renewed annually by the court.

Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (PC 1026)

Patients judged by the court to be not guilty because they were insane at the time of the felony crime are committed to a state hospital for treatment for a period equal to the maximum sentence of their most serious offense. The goal of treatment is to develop socially responsible behavior and independent living skills, while treating their mental illness and they are eligible for release to a transitional program for integration into the community once they have been deemed no longer a danger.  These commitments may be renewed by the court.

The primary patient population breakdown for DSH-Metropolitan is listed below:

Patient Category


Conservatorship (LPS)


Incompetent to Stand Trial (PC 1370)


Mentally Disordered Offenders (PC 2962/2964a & 2972)


Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (PC 1026)



Approximately 1,450 employees work at DSH-Metropolitan providing around-the-clock care, including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, rehabilitation therapists, psychiatric technicians, registered nurses, psychiatric technicians, and other clinical and administrative staff. There are approximately 190 different job classifications at the facility, including hospital police, kitchen staff, custodial staff, warehouse workers, groundskeepers, information technology staff, plant operations staff, spiritual leaders, and other clinical and administrative staff.


The Trial Competency Program is for patients admitted to the hospital pursuant to Penal Code (PC) 1370, Incompetent to Stand Trial. These patients receive a specialized program of treatment which is specifically designed to help the patient gain the knowledge and skills necessary to return to court. The goal is for the patient to understand court proceedings and effectively participate in their defense.

The Mentally Disordered Offender (MDO) Program is for patients paroled to the hospital by authority of the Board of Paroles under provisions of PC 2962. Patients may be released to parole, placed in Conditional Release Program, or become civilly committed.

The Lanterman-Petris-Short program provides treatment for civilly committed patients who suffer from severe symptoms of mental illness, who engage in the behaviors that are dangerous to themselves or others or are gravel disabled by their mental illness and thereby unable to formulate a viable plan for self-care. The program provides a highly structured treatment environment for re-socialization in preparation for community placement. 


Approximately 80 of the staff at DSH-Metropolitan live in Norwalk. The rest reside within a seventy-mile radius in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties.

The hospital is a partner with various colleges and universities throughout Southern California. Thousands of graduates over the course of many years have worked at DSH-Metropolitan after completing psychiatric technician education programs at Cypress College and Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC). Similarly, a number of registered nurses from area colleges have completed clinical rotation in our hospital. These colleges include American University of Health Sciences, California State University, Dominguez Hills, West Coast University, and CNI College.

The hospital also provides opportunities for elective rotations for medical students from several medical schools as well as resident physicians from nearby residency programs. DSH-Metropolitan has a psychology doctoral internship program which accepts five interns every year.

The Department of Social Work accepts eight to ten interns each year from Azusa Pacific University, University of Southern California (Orange County and Downtown Campuses), and California State University, Long Beach.

DSH-Metropolitan is the second highest employer of the City of Norwalk, after the unified school district. The hospital is an active partner in the City of Norwalk’s Annual Angel Tree Project, with hospital staff donating canned foods and unwrapped toys during the holiday season for the community in need.