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The Florida Senate

2020 Florida Statutes

Rights of inmates provided mental health treatment; procedure for involuntary treatment.
F.S. 945.48
945.48 Rights of inmates provided mental health treatment; procedure for involuntary treatment.
(1) RIGHT TO QUALITY TREATMENT.An inmate in a mental health treatment facility has the right to receive treatment that is suited to his or her needs and that is provided in a humane psychological environment. Such treatment shall be administered skillfully, safely, and humanely with respect for the inmate’s dignity and personal integrity.
(2) RIGHT TO EXPRESS AND INFORMED CONSENT.Any inmate provided psychiatric treatment within the department shall be asked to give his or her express and informed written consent for such treatment. “Express and informed written consent” or “consent” means consent voluntarily given in writing after a conscientious and sufficient explanation and disclosure of the purpose of the proposed treatment; the common side effects of the treatment, if any; the expected duration of the treatment; and the alternative treatment available. The explanation shall enable the inmate to make a knowing and willful decision without any element of fraud, deceit, or duress or any other form of constraint or coercion.
(3) PROCEDURE FOR INVOLUNTARY TREATMENT OF INMATES.Involuntary mental health treatment of an inmate who refuses treatment that is deemed to be necessary for the appropriate care of the inmate and the safety of the inmate or others may be provided at a mental health treatment facility. The warden of the institution containing the mental health treatment facility shall petition the circuit court serving the county in which the mental health treatment facility is located for an order authorizing the treatment of the inmate. The inmate shall be provided with a copy of the petition along with the proposed treatment; the basis for the proposed treatment; the names of the examining experts; and the date, time, and location of the hearing. The inmate may have an attorney represent him or her at the hearing, and, if the inmate is indigent, the court shall appoint the office of the public defender or private counsel pursuant to s. 27.40(1) to represent the inmate at the hearing. An attorney representing the inmate shall have access to the inmate and any records, including medical or mental health records, which are relevant to the representation of the inmate.
(a) The hearing on the petition for involuntary treatment shall be held within 5 days after the petition is filed, and the court may appoint a general or special magistrate to preside. The inmate may testify or not, as he or she chooses, may cross-examine witnesses testifying on behalf of the facility, and may present his or her own witnesses. However, the court may waive the presence of the inmate at the hearing if such waiver is consistent with the best interests of the inmate and the inmate’s counsel does not object. One of the inmate’s physicians whose opinion supported the petition shall appear as a witness at the hearing.
(b) At the hearing on the issue of whether the court should authorize treatment for which an inmate has refused to give express and informed consent, the court shall determine by clear and convincing evidence whether the inmate is mentally ill as defined in this chapter; whether such treatment is essential to the care of the inmate; and whether the treatment is experimental or presents an unreasonable risk of serious, hazardous, or irreversible side effects. In arriving at the substitute judgment decision, the court must consider at least the following:
1. The inmate’s expressed preference regarding treatment;
2. The probability of adverse side effects;
3. The prognosis for the inmate without treatment; and
4. The prognosis for the inmate with treatment.
(c) An order authorizing involuntary treatment shall allow such treatment for a period not to exceed 90 days following the date of the order. Unless the court is notified in writing that the inmate has provided express and informed consent in writing, that the inmate has been transferred to another institution of the department, or that the inmate is no longer in need of treatment, the warden shall, prior to the expiration of the initial 90-day order, petition the court for an order authorizing the continuation of treatment for another 90-day period. This procedure shall be repeated until the inmate provides express and informed consent or is no longer in need of treatment. Treatment may be continued pending a hearing after the timely filing of any petition.
(5) PROCEDURE FOR EMERGENCY TREATMENT.In an emergency situation in which there is immediate danger to the health and safety of an inmate or other inmates, emergency treatment may be provided at a mental health treatment facility upon the written order of a physician for a period not to exceed 48 hours, excluding weekends and legal holidays. If, after the 48-hour period, the inmate has not given express and informed consent to the treatment initially refused, the warden shall, within 48 hours, excluding weekends and legal holidays, petition the circuit court, in accordance with the procedures described in this section, for an order authorizing the continued treatment of the inmate. In the interim, treatment may be continued upon the written order of a physician who has determined that the emergency situation continues to present a danger to the safety of the inmate or others. If an inmate must be isolated for mental health purposes, that decision must be reviewed within 72 hours by a different psychological professional or a physician other than the one making the original placement.
(6) EMERGENCY TREATMENT.In addition to the other provisions of this section for mental health treatment, when the consent of the inmate cannot be obtained, the warden of a mental health treatment facility, or his or her designated representative, with the concurrence of the inmate’s attending physician, may authorize emergency surgical or nonpsychiatric medical treatment if such treatment is deemed lifesaving or there is a situation threatening serious bodily harm to the inmate.
History.s. 1, ch. 82-224; s. 29, ch. 84-361; s. 1, ch. 86-241; s. 1, ch. 88-117; s. 27, ch. 91-225; s. 9, ch. 96-422; s. 1864, ch. 97-102; s. 25, ch. 2000-161; s. 17, ch. 2008-250.