Programs Provided - Clinics and Processes
Competency Evaluation - Contract Administration
“Forensic” means “for the Court.” Correctional Health Services (CHS) Forensic Services administers a contract of Mental Health Experts who provide forensic evaluations to the Court. Mental Health Experts can be either Psychologists or Psychiatrists, as defined by statute. Forensic evaluations occur on an outpatient basis as determined by the Court, either: in-custody at the Maricopa County Jails or out of custody in the community. Two examples of forensic evaluations are Rule 11 and Restoration to Competency.
Rule 11 is the Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure that governs competency evaluations. Defense counsel usually initiates the Rule 11 process. In the Rule 11 process, the Court orders two Mental Health Experts to meet with the defendant, conduct competency evaluations, review records, and render opinions on the legal competency status of the defendant in reports submitted to the Court. If the opinions of the two Mental Health Experts are split, the Court usually appoints a third Mental Health Expert as a tiebreaker. Defendants who are found Competent in the Rule 11 process can proceed with their criminal case. “Competent” is a legal standard that means that the defendant has a factual and rational understanding of the criminal proceedings and the ability to work with their attorney to assist in their defense.
Restoration to Competency (RTC)
The Court admits defendants determined Incompetent to proceed with their criminal case during the Rule 11 process to the Restoration to Competency (RTC) program. The Court orders defendants to participate in the RTC program. CHS Forensic Services assigns a forensic team to work with defendants admitted to the RTC program, which includes a Mental Health Expert and a Forensic Restoration Specialist. Forensic Restoration Specialists conduct legal education sessions with defendants for restoration. The Mental Health Expert is ultimately responsible for rendering a final opinion on the defendant’s legal competency status in a report submitted to the Court. Defendants who are found Competent in the RTC program can proceed with their criminal case.
For More Information