Members of a task force want lawmakers to appropriate money to build a secure facility to house people who are "dually" diagnosed as mentally ill and mentally retarded and who break the law.
Utah has no appropriate facility for people who commit crimes but are dually diagnosed as mentally ill and mentally retarded, according to members of the Task Force on Services for Persons with Handicaps. But placing them at the Utah State Training School is a dangerous practice - and one that endangers the general population at the school.Task force members voted Wednesday to ask lawmakers to give the Division of Services to the Handicapped the power to divert from the Training School people who are not appropriate for that population.
A task force subcommittee studied the issue and suggested that the Training School not accept such individuals.
The division report to the court recommends three options: prison, the Training School or an appropriate community program. The proposal for a law "also would require the court to accept that recommendation or offer an explanation," Howe said. "The bottom line is, people who are mentally retarded who are found guilty but mentally ill are not appropriate for the Training School and power should be given to the division to see the person is not placed there."
"They probably ought to be in maximum security and there is no maximum security there," said Rep. Donald LeBaron, R-Highland, a task force member. He said that taking a building at the Training School and making it a secure facility is "politically, potentially acceptable.