The idea of transferring people deemed mentally ill from Oregon State Hospital (OSH) to community restoration and vice versa is a great idea, but I think having a third level of care would be very helpful (“The Broken System,” 9/19).
For example, we would have defendants who are deemed by the judge to be very ill and have committed a heinous crime, like aggravated assault or armed robbery, sent to OSH. People who have been deemed by the judge to be moderately mentally ill should be sent to community restoration, as long as their crime is not considered extremely heinous.
Finally, defendants who have been deemed by the judge to be barely mentally ill, but just enough to be considered unfit to testify in their own defense and have not committed and extremely heinous crime, should be sent through a system that’s only real focus is to educate the defendant on the criminal system.
It, of course, may be hard to get the defendants to willingly attend this education, but if we add some incentive to this education like a shorter sentence or a lower fine, this may entice them enough to attend.