A Holiday Gift From the Senate

12/14/2015

Late last week, the U.S. Senate passed a bill (S. 993) reauthorizing and expanding the Mentally Ill Offender and Treatment Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA).

S. 993 expands the use of MIOTCRA funds to include the following:

  • Veterans treatment courts;
  • Training for law enforcement and correctional officers on how to respond to individuals experiencing psychiatric crises;
  • Mental Health and substance abuse treatment and services for individuals who are incarcerated;
  • Alternatives to solitary confinement;
  • Mental health and substance use services for individuals reentering communities following incarceration to reduce recidivism; and
  • Enhanced data collection and measurement of outcomes.

S. 993 also expands the definition of who may be served by this program to include individuals charged or convicted of felonies, with the exception of individuals charged or convicted of sex offenses, murder, or assault with intent to commit murder.   Previously, MIOTCRA funds were restricted to “non-violent” offenders.

Sponsored by Senator Al Franken (D. MN), S. 993 enjoyed bipartisan support, with co-sponsors including Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R. Iowa) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D. Vermont). 

A companion bill to S. 933, H.R. 1854, is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Action Needed!

  • Please write to your U.S. Senator and thank him or her for passing S. 993. 
  • We need the House to pass the companion bill (H.R. 1854) to S. 933. Please write to your U.S. Representative to urge him or her to pass H.R. 1854.  

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Thank you for your advocacy!