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Office of Mental Health

New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH)
Division of Forensic Services
Populations Served in OMH Forensic and SOTP Facilities

Persons served in OMH forensic facilities fall into six basic legal admission categories. Almost without exception, all persons hospitalized in forensic facilities are subject to involuntary commitments pursuant to Mental Hygiene Law, Criminal Procedure Law or Correction Law. The statutory provisions of commitment, as well as case law, govern facility placement, terms and duration of confinement and goals of treatment. The following is a brief summary of the legal admission categories for persons served in OMH forensic and SOTP facilities.

  1. Criminal Procedure Law § 330.20: Not Responsible for Criminal Conduct by Reason of Mental Disease or Defect
    • Individuals are judged not responsible for criminal conduct by reason of mental disease or defect, by plea or trial.
    • Persons are admitted to Mid-Hudson (MHFPC) and Kirby (KFPC) Forensic Psychiatric Centers as well as to the Rochester Regional Forensic Unit (RRFU) for care and treatment under an order of the criminal court.
    • Persons subject to the provision of CPL § 330.20 progress through a continuum of services which includes secure facility care, non-secure adult psychiatric center care and community-based care. Court orders are required for each movement to a less restrictive setting including release to the community.
    • Once released, CPL 330.20 persons are subject to renewable five-year order of conditions. The Commissioner of OMH is required to monitor compliance with the court order of conditions and the person's suitability for continued community placement.
  2. Criminal Procedure Law 730: Incompetent to Stand Trial
    • Individuals are judged not fit to proceed to trial, i.e. incapacitated as a result of mental disease or defect.
    • Patients are committed to OMH for care and treatment under an order of the criminal court. (Individuals with felony level arrest charges are hospitalized to Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center, Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center and the Rochester Regional Forensic Unit.)
    • CPL 730 differentiates between felony and misdemeanor charges and local and superior courts:
      • CPL 730 Final Orders of Observation pertain to misdemeanor charges. Once an individual is found to be an incapacitated person, the charges are dismissed and the patient is transported to a state civil psychiatric center for evaluation and admission under the provisions of the Mental Hygiene Law. As per the Ritter v. Surles decision, these patients must be evaluated and within 72 hours of admission, either be civilly committed under Mental Hygiene Law, or converted to voluntary status, or released.
      • CPL 730 Temporary Orders of Observation and Orders of Commitment pertain to felony charges. Once an individual is found to be an incapacitated person, he/she is committed to OMH under CPL 730. Charges are not dismissed. The purpose of hospitalization is to restore the patient to fitness to stand trial.
      • CPL 730.40 Temporary Orders of Observation are issued by local criminal courts and are valid for 90 days. If the patient remains incompetent, OMH must convert to MHL status. If the District Attorney does not obtain an indictment against the patient within 6 months of the expiration of the Temporary Order, the charges are dismissed.
      • CPL 730.50 Orders of Commitment pertain to indicted felony defendants and are valid for one year. OMH may continue to retain the patient under CPL 730 for up to 2/3 of the maximum sentence the patient would have received if convicted.
    • Criminal Procedure Law was modified in 2012 to include the option of outpatient restoration for CPL 730.40 Temporary Orders and CPL 730.50 Commitment Orders. For more information, refer to the DFS guidance document PDF Document (178kb) on outpatient competency restoration.
  3. Correction Law 508: Involuntary Admission of Pre-Sentenced Inmates
    • Applies to pre-sentenced inmates in local county correctional facilities.
    • All admissions are involuntary and require an applicant and physician(s) certification.
    • Patients are hospitalized under guard by the local sheriff. The Rochester Regional Forensic Unit and Northeast Central Regional Forensic Unit admit CL 508 patients.
    • CL 508 patients can be admitted to adult psychiatric centers and municipal and general hospitals under sheriff's guard.
  4. Correction Law 402: Involuntary Admission of Sentenced Inmates
    • Pertains to the hospitalization of sentenced inmates in state and local correctional facilities.
    • All admissions are received at Central New York Psychiatric Center.
    • All admissions are involuntary.
    • Admission requires an applicant, certifying physicians, and a court order.
  5. 14 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 57: Transfer of Involuntary Patients to a Secure Facility
    • Applies to transfer of involuntary patients at adult civil psychiatric centers to Mid-Hudson and Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Centers.
    • To be eligible for Part 57 Transfer, a patient must be:
      1. Involuntary
      2. Imminent risk to cause physical harm to others
      3. Not responsive to treatment modalities designed to alleviated violent behavior.
    • Applications are made in writing to DFS by facility directors.
  6. Mental Hygiene Law Article 10: Persons subject to Civil Management
    • Person referred for assessment for civil management include:
      • sex offenders with qualifying offenses in the custody of DOCS who are approaching release,
      • persons under supervision of the NYS Division of Parole who are approaching the end of their terms of supervision,
      • persons found not responsible for criminal conduct due to mental disease or defect and who are due to be released, and
      • persons found incompetent to stand trial and who are due to be released.
    • Persons recommended for civil management must have a mental abnormality, as defined by Article 10.
      • MHL Article 10 defines mental abnormality as a "congenital or acquired condition, disease or disorder that affects the emotional, cognitive, or volitional capacity of a person in a manner that predisposes him or her to the commission of conduct constituting a sex offense and that results in that person having serious difficulty in controlling such conduct."
    • Petitions for civil management (whether it be SIST or confinement) are filed by the Office of the Attorney General after a recommendation from OMH.
    • Confinement in a SOTP applies to persons found by the Court to be a detained, dangerous sex offender who suffer from a mental abnormality and requires confinement.
      • Most commitments are involuntary, although some respondents consent to confinement.