All DBHDD State Hospitals and Contracted Forensic Facilities
DBHDD supports the rights of victims of crime, and in accordance with Georgia Crime Victim's Bill of Rights, DBHDD offers the opportunity for victims to be informed of changes in the status of the perpetrator. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-17-5.1, a victim of a crime may request notification of the release, discharge, escape from or readmission to the aforementioned DBHDD facilities if the perpetrator is an individual with certain forensic status.
Avatar - the electronic hospital information system kept by DBHDD hospitals and forensic facilities.
Facility - for purposes of this policy, means DBHDD state hospital or contracted forensic facility
Individual - for the purposes of policy, an individual as identified in OCGA 17-17-3 who has or has been alleged to perpetrate a crime and may be receiving treatment in a DBHDD facility or contracted facility and has been adjudicated incompetent to stand trial pursuant to 17-7--13- or Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity pursuant to 17-7-131
Release - An individual is not on a DBHDD facility campus and is not accompanied by staff or in custody of law enforcement, but is not discharged from the facility.
Victim – a person against whom a crime has been perpetrated, or allegedly perpetrated as defined in OCGA 17-17-3 (11).
Victim Request Form - Victim's Request to Receive Notification Form (Attachment A).
- Victims may request DBHDD to notify them of an individual's discharge, release, escape, or readmission to a DBHDD facility. In order for this to occur, victims must initiate a request utilizing the Victim's Request Form (Attachment A). This form may be sent to DBHDD via two methods:
- Paper registration utilizing the form obtainable from the local District Attorney's Office or downloaded form from the DBHDD website. In either case, it is mailed to the DBHDD address listed on the form
- Online registration using http://dbhdd.georgia.gov/victim-notification.
- The victim is responsible for providing contact information (physical address and telephone number) and for updating this information if changes occur.
- Within five business days of receipt of the Victim Request Form, The DBHDD Office of Forensic Services:
- Verifies whether the individual is in a facility and sends an acknowledgement of receipt of the Victim Request Form. (If the individual is not in a facility, a second notification will be sent when (and if) the individual is admitted). The acknowledgement is limited to a statement as to whether the individual is in a facility and explains that the next notification from DBHDD will be when the individual is admitted, released, discharged, or escapes, as applicable.
- Enters the information in the DBHDD Victim Notification database, and creates an Avatar alert prohibiting the admission or discharge of that individual until allowed by DBHDD Office of Forensic Services.
- Notifies, in writing, the Hospital Forensic Director where the individual is assigned that DBHDD has received a Victim Request Form.
- The Hospital Forensic Director ensures that a copy of the Victim Request Form is placed in the individual's hospital record.
- The victim Notification Form is not available to review by the individual and, if copies are made of the medical record, the victim identification and contact information on this form is redacted.
- When an individual flagged for victim notification is scheduled to be released or discharged:
- At least 14 days prior to the release or discharge, the Hospital Forensic Director or designee informs the Office of Forensic Services about the scheduled release or discharge.
- Within 2 business days of being so informed, the Office of Forensic Services:
- Sends written notification of the pending release or discharge using Attachment B. Notification is sent via certified mail with signature confirmation, to the victim and, (if required) to the victim advocate. If the individual is released or discharged, DBHDD also states whether the discharge is to the community or to the jail.
- Provides the Hospital Forensic Director with a copy of the Notification sent to the victim, and ensures that the DBHDD Victim Notification Database is updated.
- The Hospital Forensic Director or designee:
- Obtains the transporting deputy's signature for the receipt of the Victim Notification Request.
- Provides a copy of the Victim Notification Request to the deputy taking custody of the individual as well as faxing it to the receiving jail.
- Ensures that a copy of the Victim Notification Request with the deputy's signature and date of custody transfer is placed in the individual's medical record. (see Attachment C).
- In the event of an escape or unscheduled release:
- Within 4 hours, the Hospital Forensic Director:
- Attempts to contact the victim via telephone, with repeated efforts for 48 hours until contact is made. All such efforts are documented in the individual's medical record.
- Informs the Regional Hospital Director and the Director of the Office of Forensic Services
- Within 2 business days, the Office of Forensic Services sends written correspondence, via certified mail with signature confirmation, to the victim and, (if required), the victim advocate (see Attachment B). A copy of the correspondence is placed in the individual's medical record and the DBHDD Victim Notification Database is updated.
- If an Individual is subsequently readmitted to a DBHDD facility as Incompetent to Stand Trial or Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, procedures are as outlined in C through G above.
- A request for victim notification does not allow the victim to receive any other information about the individual. The Crime Victims' Bill of Right does not require or allow DBHDD to give the victim any information about the individual's condition or about the individual's location in the community.
- DBHDD is not responsible for making notifications to victims regarding any movement of individuals during any phase of criminal proceedings other than as stated in this policy. Law enforcement and prosecutors are responsible for any and all other notifications available under the Crime Victim's Bill of Rights.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 17-17-1
Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 17-17-3(11)
Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 17-17-5.1
Legal Status Codes used in Avatar, 24-107
Incident Management in Adult Mental Health and Forensic Units, 03-515
Incident Management in DBHDD Skilled Nursing Facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, 03-615