Victim Notification Program
Under Pennsylvania law, if an offender convicted of a personal injury crime is diagnosed with a mental illness, subsequently requiring treatment in a state mental hospital, you — as the victim — have the right to know. By enrolling in the Department of Human Services' (DHS) Victim Notification Program, you will also be notified of your offender's transfer, discharge or elopement from the hospital.
HOW DOES AN OFFENDER END UP IN A STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL?
When an offender convicted of a personal injury crime is diagnosed with serious mental illness and has been determined to be a danger to themselves or others, the court may recommend that the individual receives treatment in a state mental hospital. Offenders receiving treatment in state mental hospitals are usually treated in forensic centers. By law, these centers maintain conditions of criminal detention with security features similar to jails or prisons. Forensic center patients may not leave the secure centers except for medical care or court hearings. However, the court may decide to recommend state mental hospital treatment to some offenders in the civil portion of the hospital, rather than the forensic center.
When hospital treatment is completed, the offender is returned to jail or prison to serve the remaining sentence. If the sentence expires or if pardon or parole occurs during hospitalization, treatment will continue to be provided in the civil portion of the state mental hospital. When the offender is ready for hospital discharge, the county mental health program will provide follow-up treatment services.
HOW DOES THE VICTIM NOTIFICATION PROGRAM WORK?
If you decide to enroll in the program, you will be immediately notified of your offender's transfer, discharge or elopement from a state mental hospital. If there is an elopement from a hospital, you will also be notified when the offender is caught. In addition, the hospital will let you know when the offender has served the maximum sentence or has died.
DO I HAVE TO ENROLL IN THE PROGRAM?
No, enrollment is voluntary.
IF I WANT TO ENROLL, WHAT DO I DO?
If you choose to enroll in the program, you must complete an enrollment form and mail it to the hospital where the offender has been admitted. An enrollment form is provided below with a list of hospital addresses and telephone numbers for your convenience.
Enrollment occurs after admission since only a small number of personal injury crime offenders are committed to state mental hospitals. Enrollment in the program may occur in several ways:
**If the offender is hospitalized at sentencing, the local district attorney or victim notification coordinator will notify you and help you complete the enrollment form.
**If the offender is hospitalized while under sentence in a jail or prison, the correctional agency will tell you where the person was admitted and will provide you with the link to access the enrollment form online. If you do not have web access, the correctional agency will provide you will a hard copy of the form upon request.
**If the offender was hospitalized before 1994, you may call or write the victim notification coordinator at the admitting hospital to enroll.
The hospital will confirm your enrollment in writing.
HOW LONG WILL I BE ENROLLED?
Your enrollment will continue until the offender is released from jail or prison. It is important that you notify the admitting hospital's victim notification coordinator if your name, address or telephone number changes while you are enrolled. No information about you or your enrollment will be disclosed to the offender or to anyone other than criminal justice officials without your written consent. DHS' Victim Notification Program allows victims of personal injury crimes to know of their offender's transfer, discharge, or elopement from a state mental hospital. Below is a list of state mental hospitals, along with a printable version of the enrollment form for your convenience. Please fill out the "Victim Information" section and send it to the attention of the "Victim Notification Coordinator" at the admitting hospital. Again, an enrollment form should be filled out AFTER you have been informed of the offender's hospitalization.
CLARKS SUMMIT STATE HOSPITAL (CSSH)
1451 Hillside Drive Clarks Summit, PA 18411-9505
DANVILLE STATE HOSPITAL (DSH)
200 State Hospital Drive Danville, PA 17821-9198
NORRISTOWN STATE HOSPITAL (NSH)
1001 Sterigere Street Norristown, PA 19401-5397
SOUTH MOUNTAIN RESTORATION CENTER
10058 South Mountain Road South Mountain, PA 17261-0999
TORRANCE STATE HOSPITAL (TSH)
P.O. Box 111 Torrance, PA 15779-0111
WARREN STATE HOSPITAL (WaSH)
33 Main Drive North Warren, PA 16365-5099
WERNERSVILLE STATE HOSPITAL (WeSH)
P.O. Box 300 Wernersville, PA 19565-0300