A person in a mental health crisis may be kept in custody for evaluation for up to 24 hours under legislation that has cleared the Virginia Senate.
The new, 24-hour limit passed over the objections of some in the law enforcement community, who worried that such a lengthy period may divert deputy sheriffs who are detaining the patient from other public safety priorities.
But the bill passed unanimously after an impassioned plea from the Senator who was most recently impacted by flaws in the state’s mental health system.
Virginia is moving closer to implementing changes to its mental health system under legislation that has advanced in the General Assembly.
The state Senate approved two bills to help clarify how long a person can be held for treatment under a temporary detention order … and to prevent someone who’s thought to be a danger to himself or others from possessing a gun.
Critics of current law argue that it doesn’t authorize enough time to diagnose and begin treating temporarily detained patients in crisis.