SD Chief Justice Wants Changes In Mental Health Evaluations

Jan 20, 2017

SD Chief Justice Mental Evaluations

South Dakota’s Supreme Court Chief Justice is urging lawmakers to ease regulations on who can perform mental health evaluations.  Siouxland Public Media’s Mary Hartnett has this report.

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South Dakota Supreme Court Justice David Gilbertson

A Sioux Falls Argus Leader Media investigation has found that mentally ill defendants were jailed for half a year or more waiting for mental competence exams.  That’s because there are very few psychiatrists or psychologists in South Dakota.  State Supreme Court Justice David Gilbertson is asking the legislature to expand the definition of a mental health professional so people wouldn’t have to wait months for an evaluation.

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“The defendant then gets through the criminal system quicker and the taxpayers save a ton of money, for not having to warehouse these people awaiting a plea.”

Gilbertson says he’s been working with a legislative task force on several mental health issues that he hopes will be address in this session.  For Siouxlan Public Media, I’m Mary Hartnett.