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Ohio bill aims to free psychiatric beds for potentially violent patients

Ohio is taking steps to change how the 1,100 beds in the six state-owned psychiatric hospitals are filled — in part to assure there is room available for those threatening gun violence (Source: “Ohio lawmakers look to free up state psychiatric beds,” Dayton Daily News, Oct. 23, 2019).

The Ohio Senate voted 30-1 in favor of Senate Bill 58, which is included in Gov. Mike DeWine’s 17-point plan to address gun violence.

Currently, a large portion of the high-security beds are occupied by people facing non-violent misdemeanor criminal charges who need to be restored to mental competency. The DeWine administration wants to give courts the ability to send non-violent defendants to step-down facilities for treatment when appropriate, leaving the secure beds for violent patients.

The bill now moves to the Ohio House for consideration.