Admission into a state hospital requires a court order.
Each patient in state hospitals is admitted by order of a California court. More than 90 percent of our patients are forensic psychiatric patients, which means they are mental health patients who also have some involvement with the criminal justice system. The rest of our patients are admitted through a civil court process because they pose a danger to themselves or others and the mental health services of the county are insufficient to care for the individual.

Mental Health Services – Individuals seeking non-crisis mental health services should first contact their county’s Mental Health Program. Here is a list of all county program phone numbers.

Different types of treatment for are required for state hospital patients.
All patients in state hospitals have an individualized treatment plan developed with them. Each patient is assigned to a treatment team, consisting of a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, rehabilitation therapist, and nursing staff. Members of the team complete clinical evaluations and assessments that guide team members in individualizing treatment interventions and which are documented in the patient’s treatment plan.

Risk factors, discharge criteria, focus of treatment, objectives, and interventions are determined based on the patient’s needs, strengths, and commitment type. Daily interventions are provided by team members and other trained staff to support progress. The patient’s progress is tracked by the team and reviewed in monthly treatment conferences which include discussion of the plan and progress with the patient.

The overall goal of treatment is preparing each one of our patients for discharge and to be successful in what comes next. For some, that next step may be life back in a community, for others it may be a criminal trial or a return to prison. Regardless, the Department of State Hospitals is committed to providing treatment that meets the highest therapeutic standards in a safe environment for staff and patients, while maintaining responsible stewardship, excellence in forensic evaluation, and excellence in treatment.

What follows is information that provides a closer look at different treatment program that occur within our hospital as well as programs that continue for some after discharge. There is also information on the clinical team behind these programs.

Civil Commitment Program

People who come to a state hospital in California through a civil commitment require physically secure 24-hour care that is not available through community programs. They have been found by the court to be a danger to themselves or others, or unable to provide for their own basic needs, such as health and safety, because of a mental disorder.
See more about Civil Commitments and Treatment

Clinical Operations

The Clinical Operations Division develops and sets clinical standards for California’s Department of State Hospitals. Through this division, clinical staff has a voice in setting priorities, planning and decisions. The division works with statewide clinical leadership, to identify best practices and improve training.
See more about Clinical Operations

Conditional Release

Some forensic patients are allowed to transition from being a patient in our hospitals to living in a California community by participating in an outpatient treatment system known as Conditional Release (CONREP). Individuals must agree to follow a treatment plan designed by specialists and approved by the committing court. In order to protect the public, individuals who do not comply with treatment are reported to the court and can be returned to the state hospital.
See more about Conditional Release

Forensic Commitment Programs

People who come to a facility of California’s Department of State Hospitals under a forensic commitment are individuals who have been charged with or convicted of criminal behavior related to their mental illness. Some are referred by a criminal court for treatment that will help them to understand the criminal charges against them and to assist in their own defense. Others are admitted after they have been found not guilty by reason of insanity. A third group of forensic commitments are individuals who a state prisoners in need of mental health treatment.
See more about Forensic Commitments and Treatment

Sex Offender Commitment Program

Concerns about violent, mentally disordered sex offenders being released from prison resulted in the Legislature creating a new category of civil commitment for individuals. Upon release from prison, a person determined by a court to be a sexually violent predator (SVP) may be placed in a state hospital facility. The initial term of commitment is indeterminate and the individuals are evaluated annually. If a judge later determines that the individual is no longer likely to commit an act of sexual violence, that person can be unconditionally released. Some civilly committed SVPs are allowed to transition from being a patient in our hospitals to living in a California community by participating in an outpatient treatment system.
See more about the Sex Offender Commitment Program and Treatment