Treatment of Incompetent to Stand Trial Patients
The focus of treatment for the IST population is on restoration of trial competency in the most expeditious manner. To this end, the training of criminal procedures is continuously present in the treatment milieu for IST patients. Once specific mental health issues and medication needs are addressed, patients are immersed in groups or individualized sessions that train them in various aspects of court proceedings. Each patient receives instruction as to what they are charged with, the pleas available, the elements of a plea bargain, the roles of the officers of the court, the role of evidence in a trial, and their constitutional protections. Knowledge of these areas is assessed using a competency assessment instrument and, upon passing this requirement, the patient may proceed to a mock trial. In this part of the program, there are staff members acting as judge, jury, district attorney, and defense attorney to assess the patient’s ability to work with counsel. At any point during the treatment program, the patient may be evaluated to confirm they are competent to stand trial. After evaluation, if there is concurrence that the patient is competent, a forensic report is sent to the court, identifying that the patient is competent and ready to stand trial.