Forensic services provides evaluation, treatment and community monitoring under the order and direction of the circuit courts for individuals with mental illness and developmental disabilities involved in the criminal justice system. Operation of the forensic program requires not only the specialized knowledge and services needed for working with these individuals, but also requires expertise in dealing with the judicial system. This highly specialized service provides the capability of evaluation and treatment in an appropriately secure environment. The Department provides four levels of security (Maximum, Intermediate, Minimum and Campus), with the desired goal of progressive movement through the security continuum based on clinical condition and risk assessment. Within this continuum, forensic clients are provided treatment in a setting consistent with both the clinical needs of the client and the safety of the public. Forensic programs are located at Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center, St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center, Northwest Missouri Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center, and Fulton State Hospital.
The Department of Mental Health is statutorily mandated to provide community monitoring to forensic clients acquitted as not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect who are given conditional releases by circuit courts. Monitoring is provided by Forensic Case Monitors under the auspices of the Director of Forensic Services. There are 11 Forensic Case Monitors located across the state: three in St. Louis, two in Kansas City, two in Fulton, two in Farmington, one in Nevada and one in St. Joseph. Forensic Case Monitors must see each forensic client at least once per month to monitor compliance with conditions of release and to ensure public safety. There are approximately 400 forensic clients on conditional release statewide.
The department, upon order of the circuit court, provides pretrial evaluations completed by Certified Forensic Examiners who must hold doctorate degrees in medicine, osteopathy, or psychology and must complete required supervision and training. Pretrial evaluations must be completed within the 60-day statutory timeline. The Department completes approximately 650 evaluations each year.