When an individual is found by a judge to be “Not Competent to Stand Trial,” he or she is ordered to receive competency restoration services by the state. Services include various clinical and pharmacological methods to improve the individual’s mental capacity to understand the court process and be capable to participate in his/her own defense. Utah’s forensic services are administered by the Utah State Hospital (USH), which has capacity to treat 100 court-ordered individuals on four different secure units.
USH is operationally housed within the Utah Department of Human Services. The goal of this SUCCESS system is to protect public safety and an individual’s right to due process by expeditiously restoring an individual’s mental competence to stand trial without affecting quality outcomes.
Strategies to achieve the goal focus on reducing the overall length of stay in the Utah State Hospital Forensic unit, without compromising quality of services and outcomes for those serviced. The USH forensic unit is focusing on case movement by synchronizing the right service frequency, intensity, time and type (F.I.T.T.) driven by a discharge date that is person centered and clinically informed. In addition, the USH is ensuring quality at source and triaging patients by screening individuals into appropriate levels of service, including outreach and a jail-based program.
Results After 6 Months
- Increased capacity to allow 66 admissions compared to 37 during the same time last year
- Transitioned some patients to the more clinically-appropriate civil units
- Reduced the average length of stay from 981 days to 798 days
- Met the March 31 deadline that individuals waiting for competency restoration treatment start it within 60 days
- Discharged 66 people from the forensic unit compared to 39 over the same time last year
- Identified and started resolving the top reason for delayed discharges: waiting for a court hearing
As the USH continues its improvements on internal constraints, there are opportunities to address external constraints between the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Administrative Office of the Courts to move cases through the total competency system in the timeliest and highest quality manner.
Message from Kristen Cox
The below video contains a message from GOMB Executive Director Kristen Cox on the success of the Utah State Hospital. It was shared in the August edition of the Utah Success Newsletter to state employees.