Announcing the New Forensic Support Team
OBH is excited to announce the launch of the Forensic Support Team with the hiring of 15 Forensic Navigators, the Program Director Amanda Myers and Program Coordinator Christina O'Neill. This new team will serve as a centralized structure within OBH for stakeholders to assist forensic clients when competency restoration services have been ordered by the court. Forensic clients are individuals who are diagnosed with mental health disorders, involved in the criminal justice system, and are either currently incarcerated or living in the community.
The Colorado Department of Human Services was allocated staff positions to build the Forensic Support Team through Senate Bill 19-223. The team of Forensic Navigators will be led by two program coordinators and a program director who will oversee the provision of these services, provide training and support to the Forensic Navigators, and ensure consistent coordination of efforts across all 22 judicial districts.
The team will work closely with the Bridges Program run by the Judicial Department in order to coordinate communication and case across agencies for adult forensic clients court ordered for restoration. They will interface with courts, jails, mental health providers, and other agencies to assist with case coordination, and act as a central point of contact overseeing an individual’s continuum of care from point of entry to point of exit.
The navigators have spent the last several weeks completing extensive training, touring the state’s mental health hospitals, and visiting both jail-based competency evaluation and restoration services programs in Boulder and Arapahoe counties. The programs, known as RISE, provide a therapeutic environment in jail settings for individuals with pending legal cases who are court-ordered to receive an inpatient evaluation of adjudicative competence or inpatient competency restoration treatment.
Covering every county in the state, each navigator has been strategically assigned to one or more judicial district. The Forensic Navigators will interface with clients in their assigned judicial district that have been ordered to competency restoration services. Visit the Forensic Services web page to learn more about how this team is part of the plan to maximize efforts to provide services to pretrial detainees.