Administration of Justice Bills of Interest
June 15, 2017
AB 720 Eggman – Inmates: Psychiatric Medication: Informed Consent. As Amended June 6, 2017 – Support
Assembly Bill 720 by Assembly Member Susan Eggman would grant county jails the authority to administer involuntary psychiatric medication to non-sentenced individuals detained in their facilities as long as certain criteria are met. Existing law prohibits a person sentenced to imprisonment in a county jail from being administered any psychiatric medication without his or her prior informed consent or unless specific conditions exist. However, there are individuals who enter local detention facilities that need mental health treatment but have not been sentenced. AB 720 would assist in reducing harm to the inmate, other inmates or staff and addresses ongoing problems and challenges county jails are facing in addressing the mental health needs of inmates. AB 720 passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee 7-0, passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee 10-0, passed off of the Assembly Floor 75-0 and is set to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee on June 20, 2017.
Assembly Bill 789 by Assembly Member Blanca Rubio, as amended, would provide courts with discretion to approve own recognizance (OR) releases for individuals arrested for certain offenses who have three prior failures to appear (FTA), without holding a hearing in open court, under a court-operated or court-approved pretrial program. Existing law requires a hearing in open court before an offender arrested for certain offenses, who has previously failed to appear in court three or more times over the preceding three years, may be granted OR release. In counties where a sizeable portion of those arrested already have multiple FTAs due to jail overcrowding and other factors, the restriction within the law limits judicial discretion and court’s efficient use of pretrial release programs. AB 789 will encourage more efficient processing of criminal cases, more appropriate levels of offender supervision, and a reduction in jail overcrowding. AB 789 passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee 5-2, passed off of the Assembly Floor 46-30 and is set to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee on June 20, 2017.