The Senate also unanimously approved Senate Bill 2, which aims to expand access to beds in the state’s six psychiatric hospitals. Currently, two-thirds of the beds are occupied by people who are admitted through court orders that they be restored to competency to stand trial. About half of those people are charged with non-violent misdemeanors and could be assessed and treated in less expensive, less secure centers. Many people restored to competency are then released by the courts for time served and then not sent to further treatment.
“That results in people going through a revolving door of courts, jails and state hospitals without any progress. This bill will help end that revolving door,” said state Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green.
Senate Bill 2 mimics legislation that failed to clear the final legislative hurdles last year. DeWine pitched the change as a component of his STRONG Ohio gun policy reform package after the Aug. 4, 2019, mass shooting in the Oregon District.
DeWine wants to give courts the ability to send non-violent defendants to step-down facilities for treatment when appropriate, leaving the secure beds for violent patients.