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In Colorado, you now have to commit a crime to get inpatient mental health care


The Colorado Department of Human Services are now no longer admitting noncriminal patients to their Denver-based mental health facility, making some folks wonder if they have to commit a crime in order to get mental health treatment.

After Christmas Eve, CDHS began replacing discharged patients with individuals currently in the criminal justice system, offering no new beds for non-offending patients.

Many advocates are opposed to what they feel is a short-sighted idea on Colorado’s part.

“We at Disability Law Colorado are very shocked and dismayed by the state’s proposal,” said Disability Law Colorado’s director of legal services, Alison Butler. According to 9News, she said she thinks the state is solving one problem by creating another.

“So, essentially, in order to get mental inpatient mental health services you have to commit a crime,” Butler added.

CDHC claimed they “did not have an option but to freeze civil admissions” because of its “requirement to meet the constitutional rights of defendants in criminal cases.”

Thanks to a settlement from Disability Law Colorado, the state must decrease the mental health service wait time for individuals in the criminal justice system to 28 days.

“What we need is to build up community resources so that people who don’t need to be institutionalized and in jail or a mental health hospital and can be treated safely in the community,” Butler said.

However, now the settlement appears to have backfired, as hospital beds are no longer available to non-criminal justice system patients in need.

According to the CDHS, “The department continues to pay for these services for those who are not covered by insurance.”

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