STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2791
RE: S.B. No. 2631
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2020
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 2631 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE MENTAL HEALTH OF DEFENDANTS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to permit judicial discretion for suspension of criminal proceedings for assessment and treatment should the defendant have serious and persistent mental health illness.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Health, Hawaii Substance Abuse Coalition, Island Integrated Health, and three individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Office of the Public Defender. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Judiciary and Hawaii Disability Rights Center.
Your Committee finds that mental illness is a largely untreated or under-treated concern with criminality because the prevalence of serious mental illness among people entering jails is estimated to be about seventeen percent. Allowing courts to help people with mental illness by assessing their mental health will have a better outcome for society than simply incarcerating an individual.
Your Committee further finds that there are programs already in place to help those suffering from a mental illness while legally fit to proceed, such as the Jail Diversion Program and Mental Health Court Program. Expanding these diversion programs may provide a better alternative to helping defendants receive the necessary help and treatment.
Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Deleting language that would have permitted judicial discretion for suspension of criminal proceedings for assessment and treatment should the defendant have serious and persistent mental health illness; and
(2) Inserting language that permits judicial discretion for a referral to a diversion program or treatment court should the defendant have serious and persistent mental health illness.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2631, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2631, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,
ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair