Senate District 2
Theresa Gavarone
Gavarone Bill to Increase Access to Mental Health Treatment Passes Senate
October 23, 2019

COLUMBUS—The Senate today passed Senate Bill 58, sponsored by State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), which would make significant reforms to Ohio's competency restoration procedure. 

 Senate Bill 58 would allow nonviolent, misdemeanor offenders to receive evaluation and mental health treatment outside of a state-operated psychiatric hospital. This will help ensure psychiatric hospital beds are available for Ohioans suffering from serious mental illnesses.

 Currently in Ohio if you are charged with a non-violent misdemeanor and a judge orders you to undergo a competency evaluation, you will likely be sent to a state hospital. State hospitals are the only facilities we have to treat people with the most serious mental illnesses and beds are in short supply.

“Reforming the competency restoration process is a big step forward for mental health treatment access in our state,” Gavarone said. “This long-overdue reform will have a positive impact not just on the criminal justice system, but in our communities as well.”

Senator Gavarone worked with numerous parties on the legislation, including former Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton and her ‘Stepping Up’ team.

“Everyone acknowledges that the current competency restoration process is inefficient, expensive, and doesn’t result in a reduction of crime or an improvement in the health of people suffering from mental illness,” said Justice Stratton. “Senate Bill 58 reflects a significant effort to address each of those issues, and I thank Senator Gavarone for her commitment and enthusiasm towards reforming the restoration process.”

Senate Bill 58 will now move to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.
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