The Psychiatric Security Review Board was established in 1993. Current statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§31-501 through 31-502. See also A.R.S. §13-3994.
The Psychiatric Security Review Board (Board) was established to protect public safety and welfare and to monitor the mental well-being of persons who have been found guilty but insane and who have been placed under the jurisdiction of the Board. The Board conducts hearings to determine if a person is eligible for release based on timing and procedures outlined in A.R.S. §13-3994.
The Board consists of five members, appointed by the Governor to four-year terms.
The Board was created by Laws 1993, Chapter 256 to maintain jurisdiction over persons who are committed to a secure state mental facility pursuant to state law. The Board initially consisted of four members, appointed by the Governor to four-year terms.
Statute requires a person who is found guilty except insane to be committed to a secure state mental facility of the Arizona Department of Health Services for treatment. If the person committed a criminal act which caused death or serious physical injury to another person, the court places the person under the jurisdiction of the Board for a period of time that is equal to the sentence the person could have received. The Board is authorized to hold hearings to determine if a person is eligible for release or conditional release. If conditional release is granted, the Board works with other responsible agencies to develop a conditional release plan which may include a requirement for the person to receive treatment. Prior to conducting a hearing, the Board notifies legal counsel, the Attorney General, the victim and the court that committed the person to the Board’s jurisdiction.
Laws 1995, Chapter 250 modified Board responsibilities to require monitoring of persons committed to a secure state developmental disability facility, in addition to those persons committed to a secure state mental health facility. The measure included the following intent clause: The Legislature recognizes that a small group of individuals with developmental disabilities are charged with serious felonies, yet are found not competent to stand trial. Since these offenders generally do not have an associated mental illness, they cannot be involuntarily committed to state facilities such as the Arizona State Hospital pursuant to title 36, Arizona Revised Statutes.
As a result, the court currently has no option but to release these offenders back into society even though there is a high probability they will reoffend. It is the intent of the Legislature to address the problem by providing secure treatment alternatives, subject to legislative appropriation, for these offenders. In so doing, the Legislature intends to strike a balance between protecting the safety and security of the public and guarding the due process rights of the individual offender through numerous clinical evaluations and reviews, a least restrictive environment analysis and strong advocacy linkage between the appointed guardian and the offender. (See Laws 1995, Chapter 250, Section 18)
Laws 1996, Chapter 142 modified Board responsibilities related to additional evaluations and increased the number of members on the Board to five, by adding one additional psychiatrist or psychologist.
Legislation enacted in subsequent years provided a conditional repeal for several sections of statute based on legislative appropriations to the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) for a separate and secure facility for developmentally disabled individuals. In June 2003, the DES Director sent written notice to the Executive Director of the Legislative Council stating DES did not receive the appropriation which triggered the repeal of several sections of statute, including Laws 1995, Chapter 250. See Laws 2001, Chapter 185, section 3, as amended by Laws 2002, Chapter 267, section 17.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§31-501 – 31-502
- Session Laws
- Laws 1993, Chapter 256
- Laws 1995, Chapter 250
- Laws 1996, Chapter 142
- Laws 2001, Chapter 185
- Laws 2002, Chapter 267
- Arizona Psychiatric Security Review Board: https://www.azdhs.gov/psrb/