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PSRB executive director Mary Claire Buckley resigns

Posted by Jenny on 18th June 2013

By Yuxing Zheng, The Oregonian, June 18, 2013

Oregon State Hospital

Oregon State Hospital

The executive director of the Psychiatric Security Review Board has resigned.

Mary Claire Buckley‘s resignation is effective as of Aug. 15, board chairwoman Kate Lieber said at the board’s meeting Tuesday evening. The terms were not released.

Buckley has been on paid administrative leave since May 2 after the Department of Administrative Services launched a review of board management April 25 at the request of Lieber. Lieber  declined to say why she requested the investigation.

The board also appointed Juliet Follansbee as interim executive director. Follansbee, previously a program manager, had been filling in for Buckley while she was on leave.

The state is dropping its investigation in light of Buckley’s resignation, said Matt Shelby, spokesman for the Department of Administrative Services.

Buckley has worked at the board since June 1991. Her annual salary was $99,636, not including benefits.

State investigators in February 2011 found Buckley had verbally abused an Oregon State Hospital patient who had declined to enter a secure residential treatment facility. Buckley implied the patient would suffer ramifications for defying the board and refusing the placement, according to a report from the Department of Human Services’ Office of Investigations and Training.

The Psychiatric Security Review Board has jurisdiction over people found “guilty except for insanity” of a crime. The 10 board members, who are appointed by the governor, have the authority to commit people to the Oregon State Hospital, conditionally release them to community-based programs, or discharge them from their jurisdiction.

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Program restores gun rights to some Oregonians with a mental health history

Posted by Jenny on 15th June 2013

By Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian, June 11, 2013

May 2013 NRA meeting attendees

May 2013 NRA meeting attendees

In 2009, lawmakers crafted a way to help the estimated 29,000 people whose mental health histories disqualify them under federal law from buying firearms in Oregon: a formal mechanism to ask for their gun rights back.

Four years later, with a two-year budget of $576,184 and a staff of three, the Oregon Gun Relief Program has held three hearings.

The most recent one was last July. No future hearings are scheduled, according to Juliet Follansbee, the attorney who manages the program.

The program’s staffers have so little work that they do double-duty for the state Psychiatric Security Review Board, the gun program’s parent agency whose main job is supervising people found guilty except for insanity. Because federal dollars that launched the program are expected to dry up, Oregon taxpayers would foot most of the gun program’s cost under a 2013-15 budget bill awaiting legislative approval.

READPSRB budget bill, 2013-15 (PDF, 115KB)

New federal law

The little-known program is a byproduct of federal legislation designed to push states to do a better job of forwarding names of people banned from buying firearms to the FBI.

The federal government has long maintained a database called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. It relies on states to forward names of people who are unable to aid in their own defense, were found guilty except for insanity or have been involuntarily committed.

But states have spotty records of submitting names of people with disqualifying mental health issues to the federal database, a gap highlighted by the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. The man who carried out the shooting, which left 32 people dead, was previously determined to be mentally ill by a judge. That determination should have disqualified him from buying a firearm.

Congress responded by offering states grant money to ensure names of such individuals reach the FBI. The dollars came with a catch, the result of lobbying by the National Rifle Association: States had to use some of the money to start up gun relief programs.

“The NRA insisted on this relief mechanism,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, a national gun control group that opposed the legislation mainly because of the gun relief provision. “They weren’t going to support it without the inclusion of the relief mechanism. They are 100 percent responsible for it being there.”

Many states have passed up the grant dollars, said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. He said that including mental health records in gun background checks isn’t a priority for some state political leaders, and that penalties for not forwarding names to NICS are relatively small.

Oregon, meanwhile, has received nearly $4 million in federal NICS improvement funding since 2009. The money helped the state forward its first large batch of mental health records to federal authorities in 2011. So far, the state has submitted the names of nearly 30,000 people to the federal database.

In addition, Oregon is one of 21 states with a federal gun relief program, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The agency does not track how many people have had their gun rights restored.

It’s left to each state to decide how to administer its program. In Oregon, lawmakers opted to place gun relief duties with the psychiatric security review board.

Sen. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, led the committee that drafted the state’s gun relief law and said lawmakers worked closely with a representative of the National Rifle Association in designing a way for people to seek redress.

“It was difficult to take away this right, and there had to be a process through which they could get it restored,” Roblan said. “They were important issues to them and a lot of us.”

The National Rifle Association did not return a call seeking comment.

Kevin Starrett, executive director of the Oregon Firearms Federation, a gun rights group, views the gun relief program as a waste of tax dollars and a “humiliating” experience for applicants. He opposes gun background checks.

Starrett sat through one of the Gun Relief Program hearings.

“They come up with these programs because they have this federal money dangled in front of their face, and who says no to that?” Starrett said. “They have to justify their existence.”

He added: “You’ve got to wonder, what are they doing the rest of the time?”

The work

Follansbee, the head of the Gun Relief Program, has been acting as temporary executive director of its parent agency, the psychiatric board, since May. The longtime director, Mary Claire Buckley, is on leave pending a state investigation into board management.

Follansbee said when the program was designed, the state didn’t know how many people would petition to have their gun rights restored.

“Now that the names are in NICS, more people are going to be denied, so I anticipate we will have more as people go out and attempt to purchase” a firearm, she said.

Oregon is one of 21 states with a federal gun relief program.

Follansbee’s salary as the Gun Relief Program manager is $62,136 a year. She said when she first started the job in 2010, she spent 100 percent of her time setting up the gun relief program. But since then, work has tapered off.

Follansbee said except for preparing for three hearings in the past three years, her gun relief duties consist of handling about a half dozen calls each month from prospective gun buyers who have failed state police background checks. She fills in callers on their right to a hearing, although most haven’t gotten that far.

Follansbee is responsible for sending names each day to NICS of people found guilty except for insanity.

She also fields questions from law enforcement officials about questions raised during background checks.

Holding hearings

The three men who petitioned to have their gun rights restored each appeared before a three-person panel drawn from the psychiatric review board, which is appointed by the governor.

The committee deliberates in private, and audio from each hearing lasts less than an hour. Eric Johnson, a forensic psychologist and panel member, peppered the men with questions about their mental health, alcohol and drug use, arrest records and whether they had violent tendencies.

In each case, the panel restored the applicant’s rights.

Steven Stewart, one of the successful petitioners, said some people who have lost their gun rights should get a second chance.

“I definitely believe there should be a process,” he said.

Stewart, who said many people in his life don’t know his personal history, reluctantly agreed to talk about his experience with The Oregonian. He spoke on the condition that his employer and hometown not be identified.

Many years earlier, when Stewart was in his early 20s, he said he was addicted to meth and refused his parents’ pleas to get help. His parents sought Stewart’s involuntary commitment to a Portland hospital psychiatric ward as a last resort, he said.

Stewart remembers attending the commitment hearing having been high on meth for days.

“God only knows what I told those people,” he said.

He didn’t realize the court-ordered 30-day commitment, which helped him kick meth, would disqualify him from buying guns permanently under federal law. Indeed, because background checks for mental health issues were so hit-or-miss at the time, Stewart succeeded in obtaining a concealed handgun license despite his involuntary commitment.

Stewart said he first learned he was barred from purchasing a firearm when he tried to buy a shotgun at a Portland gun show about a decade ago. An Oregon State Police background check flagged him.

Stewart said people with mental illness who are violent shouldn’t get a chance to regain their gun rights. But he said his distant past shouldn’t permanently block him from buying a gun.

“I don’t suffer from depression, delusions, hallucinations,” said Stewart, a married father of two who’s got a steady job. “I am pretty mentally fit. I am very successful.”

His parents, his wife and his supervisor spoke on his behalf at his gun relief hearing.

Two weeks after his gun rights were restored, he walked into a gun store. The gun dealer ran Stewart’s name through the state background check. Again, he was denied.

Stewart stepped outside and called Follansbee, the administrator of the gun relief program. She called the state police to say their records were outdated. A few minutes later, Stewart walked out of the shop, a new XDM Springfield handgun at his side.

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Psychiatric Security Review Board director Mary Buckley to officially resign

Posted by CoffeeX3 on 28th May 2013

From the Salem Statesman Journal, May 28, 2013

Mary Claire Buckley, the executive director of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board, has submitted her resignation from the post she has held for more than 20 years.

The PSRB is scheduled to meet next Tuesday and the second agenda item is “motion for acceptance of executive director’s resignation.” The third item is “appointment of interim executive director.”

Buckley was placed on paid administrative leave May 2 after an official review began April 25th at the request of PSRB chairwoman Kate Lieber, according to Department of Administrative Services spokesman Matt Shelby.

Shelby said the review remained open on Tuesday afternoon because Buckley had not officially resigned.

Juliet Follansbee, the program manager for PSRB, has been filling in for Buckley during her absence. She had not responded on Tuesday to a request for Buckley’s letter of resignation.

The PSRB consists of a small staff and 10 board members appointed by the governor. It has jurisdiction over people in Oregon found “guilty except for insanity” of a crime. Since 2005, it has also had jurisdiction over youth found “responsible except for insanity.”

The board has the authority to commit a person to the Oregon State Hospital, conditionally release or discharge a person from the hospital, or revoke that release.

Buckley has been the executive director of the PSRB for more than 20 years. In 2011, a state investigation found that she had verbally abused an Oregon State Hospital patient. The report called Buckley’s behavior “coercing” and “disrespectful” and said she exercised “poor judgment.”

Shelby and officials at DAS have not disclosed why the board wanted a management review, or what exactly the state is investigating.

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Buckley’s administrative leave from PSRB due to investigation of board management

Posted by Jenny on 14th May 2013

By Yuxing Zheng, The Oregonian, May 14, 2013

120209-New-Oregon-State-Hospital-660The executive director of the Psychiatric Security Review Board is on paid administrative leave amid an investigation of board management, state officials said Monday.

Department of Administrative Services officials launched a review of the board’s management April 25 at the request of Kate Lieber, the chairwoman of the board, said Amy Velez, a department spokeswoman. Mary Claire Buckley, executive director of the psychiatric review board, was placed on leave May 2.

“Because we’re doing the review, we placed her on administrative leave,” said Velez, who declined to elaborate.

Lieber and Buckley did not return messages seeking comment Monday.

The Psychiatric Security Review Board has jurisdiction over people found “guilty except for insanity” of a crime. The 10 board members, who are appointed by the governor, have the authority to commit people to the Oregon State Hospital, conditionally release them to community-based programs, or discharge them from their jurisdiction.

State investigators in February 2011 found Buckley had verbally abused an Oregon State Hospital patient who had declined to enter a secure residential treatment facility. Buckley implied the patient would suffer ramifications for defying the board and refusing the placement, according to a report from the Department of Human Services’ Office of Investigations and Training.

READInvestigative Report on incident involving Mary Claire Buckley 2011 (PDF, 478KB)

“Buckley’s conduct was an instance of poor judgment,” the report concluded. “She was also disrespectful of the patient, yelled at (the patient) in public, and was clearly coercing or ordering (the patient).”

Buckley earns an annual salary of $99,636, not including benefits. Juliet Follansbee, a program manager on the board staff, is currently filling in for Buckley.

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PSRB executive director Buckley placed on administrative leave

Posted by Jenny on 13th May 2013

By Hannah Hoffman, Statesman Journal, May 13, 2013

PSRB logoMary Claire Buckley, the executive director of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board, has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to the Department of Administrative Services.

Spokeswoman Amy Velez said the reason could not be disclosed because it is a personnel matter.

Juliet Follansbee, the program manager for PSRB, is filling in for Buckley during her absence.

The PSRB consists of a small staff and ten board members appointed by the governor. It has jurisdiction over people in Oregon found “guilty except for insanity” of a crime. Since 2005, it has also had jurisdiction over youth found “responsible except for insanity.”

The board has the authority to commit a person to the Oregon State Hospital, conditionally release or discharge a person from the hospital, or revoke that release.

Buckley has been the executive director of the PSRB for more than 20 years. In 2011, a state investigation found that she had verbally abused an Oregon State Hospital patient. The report called her behavior “coercing” and “disrespectful” and said she exercised “poor judgment.”

Marion County Circuit Court records show there are no cases open against Buckley or the PSRB, and the three civil cases that have ever been filed against Buckley by people under PSRB jurisdiction have all be dismissed. The most recent was filed in July 2008.

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5 former OSH patients will soon be living outside hospital, as ColumbiaCare opens Bell Cove

Posted by Jenny on 6th April 2013

By Jane Stebbins, Curry Coastal Pilot, March 29, 2013

An open house at ColumbiaCare's "Bell Cove" residence.

An open house at ColumbiaCare’s “Bell Cove” residence.

ColumbiaCare hosted a housewarming party Monday afternoon, inviting all its neighbors to check out its new digs on Cove Road in Brookings Monday.

The five-bedroom house blends in with its neighbors on the block, and starting next month will be home to five residents — three men and two women — from the Oregon State Hospital who will work to improve their social skills, become independent and integrate themselves into the community.

The residents are evaluated by the state Psychiatric Security Review Board and could have, except for their mental illness, been found guilty of a crime.

The facility, called Bell Cove, is a less-restrictive environment that will be overseen by an administrator around the clock and a nurse five days each week to help clients there adapt to a life outside an institution.

“There is the notion out there that people with mental illness are in some way dangerous, that they are to be feared,” said ColumbiaCare spokeswoman Jennifer Sewitsky. “Not only are they active in their recovery, there is a lot of supervision and care. It is a very responsible process.”

“This is built as a medical facility,” said Mary Claire Buckley of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board. “They have the right to live in a community. We want to make sure their transition is a positive and safe one.”

Some might not make the full transition, depending on their mental and physical health needs, but live out their lives in a facility that provides them the tools to reach their maximum potential.

The clients here have varying degrees of mental health and physical limitations; they range in age from 48 into their 70s.

Most of the construction costs were provided by the state, with ColumbiaCare Services of Medford picking up the rest. Ongoing costs are provided, in part, by the clients’ income, usually Social Security or disability funds.

ColumbiaCare offers five types of residential treatment facilities, ranging from supportive and transitional housing — arguably the most minimal of security — to secure residential treatment facilities, which are locked to protect the community.

“We look at where there is property, where there is support in the community,” Sewitsky said of selecting Brookings. “This is where we landed and thought we could do a good job. We’re really excited. We get to provide services to five individuals working at a high level of recovery, moving on and getting better.”

All clients are expected to treat each other and those in the community with kindness and respect, and are rated at different levels, depending on their capabilities and achievements, to earn more freedom.

Those with diminished capabilities might learn about street safety and to read a neighborhood map, while others might have the freedom to leave the house for designated periods of time on their own.

Things such as personal expectations, participation, compliance with house rules and community involvement are taken into consideration before such license is granted.

The facility itself was designed with the idea of being everything a home has to offer — and if comments made by neighbors were any indication, there was a little bit of jealousy held at bay. Some in attendance commented that they’d like to have a house as nice as Bell Cove.

“It’ll be quite a change,” said administrator and nurse Judy Smith. “We hope it’s a change for the better.”

“We want to have homes for our clients that we’d like to live in,” Buckley said. “I’m sure they’ll be very excited to be here.”

“You have to look at it from their perspective,” Smith said. “If I or a family member required such services, this is what I’d like to see instilled in it.”

The home opens into a large kitchen and gathering area, features a quieter room for reading or games, laundry facilities and five bedrooms with half-baths. A common shower area can accommodate wheelchairs.

The motif, of course, is nautical, with statuettes of terns and gulls on bookcases and brass gas lanterns, Japanese floats and photos of the beach adorning the interior. Outside, a brass bell hangs in the eaves. The walls are a soothing ocean blue — the paint so fresh, it could be smelled — the wood floors glow in the sunlight and the wainscoted kitchen cabinets feature a faux scuffing that adds to the ambience.

The spacious backyard features raised gardens where residents can grow vegetables for use in their meals, in which they are involved in planning and making.

A separate room offers privacy for meetings with family and counselors, and “the bridge” offers the 17 staff members a full view of the common areas and serves as an office.

Such facilities, Buckley said, have a 2 percent recidivism rate. The state hospital and the county mental health officials must approve each resident to assure it’s a good fit with the community and the clients’ needs.

“It’s their home,” Smith said. “And we’re a family.”

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MI bank robber gets his wish: long prison sentence over PSRB

Posted by CoffeeX3 on 31st October 2012

From the Eugene Register-Guard, October 30, 2012

A 48-year-old man with a long history of mental illness was sentenced Monday to more than 12½ years in federal prison — as he had requested — for robbing a Eugene bank hours after his release from state prison in January.

Adam Parrish Ashe

Adam Parrish Ashe

Adam Parrish Ashe asked U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken to “do us all a favor” by imposing the sentence, saying he needed the structure of prison and “maybe I’d get some help there.”

Aiken said society “should be absolutely appalled” that prison has become the only option for the mentally ill.

“Shame on us,” she said. “I hope for the sake of other people that what you’ve said today will be heard.”

Defense attorney Bryan Lessley said he recommended reluctantly that Aiken impose the sentence because of his client’s concerns “for his own security and safety.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sweet sought the same penalty “not out of a desire to punish Mr. Ashe, but out of a desire to protect the public.”

Both the government and Lessley had expected Ashe to be committed to the custody of the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board in connection with an arson fire that led to his state prison sentence, Sweet said Monday.

Both federal and state prosecutors had jurisdiction in that May 26, 2009, incident because it was a U.S. Post Office in Roseburg where Ashe broke a window, entered and started a fire in a wastebasket with a propane torch.

A police officer removed the burning can before the fire could damage the building, but Ashe reportedly started the fire because he was angry with the federal government.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office dismissed the federal case, however, after Lessley filed notice that he intended to pursue a “guilty but for insanity defense” to the state court arson charge. Had an Oregon State Hospital psychiatric evaluation shown that Ashe was incapacitated by mental illness, he could have been committed to the authority of the Psychiatric Security Review Board for 20 years.

Persons under the board’s jurisdiction can be housed in the state hospital or a variety of residential treatment settings.

But Ashe’s evaluation determined that he was “malingering” — feigning symptoms — and he was instead sentenced in September 2011 to 23 months in state prison, with credit for time served in jail since his arrest. That led to his release from prison just four months later.

State corrections officials put him on a bus with instructions to report to a Roseburg parole office, Aiken said Monday.

Instead, Ashe got off the bus in Eugene, walked to Home Federal Bank at 899 Pearl St. and gave a teller a note demanding money, falsely stating that he had a gun. Ashe left behind his prison identification card when he walked out with the cash. He was arrested minutes later, telling police he wanted to go back to prison. All the money was recovered.

Lessley and Sweet both told Aiken they believed Ashe to be genuinely mentally ill. If he was feigning symptoms, the defense attorney said, he’d been doing it since at least age 18.

Aiken then read aloud portions of a confidential history submitted by Lessley. She noted that Ashe had 10 separate psychiatric hospitalizations in South Carolina between 1982 and 1990. The first came when Ashe was 18.

His mother reported that her son’s hallucinations included “20-foot snakes” and that he was sniffing Liquid Paper. A Minnesota Social Security disability board in 1994 declared Ashe disabled by severe major depression and alcohol-related dementia, noting that he suffered auditory hallucinations and had made multiple suicide attempts.

After he came to Oregon, a police officer once found Ashe “sitting in fire” he’d ignited.

Ashe told Aiken he robbed the bank because he saw no other options.

“The only way that I can see getting any help is to escalate in my criminal behavior simply to get some more time in prison with time for my own reflections,” he told Aiken, later adding that he’s afraid of going to prison but “even more terrified of what I’m becoming in society.”

Aiken criticized the Oregon prison system for failing to provide structure for Ashe upon his release.

“It’s not good public safety to just lock you up and have no place when you come out,” she said.

Aiken recommended that he serve his sentence at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Missouri or in a mental health program at Oregon’s Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution. She also pledged that the federal court would provide better re-entry services when Ashe completes his new sentence.

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Family, friends gather to say goodbye to Jennifer Warren

Posted by CoffeeX3 on 7th June 2012

From the St Helens Chronicle, June 6, 2012

Hundreds of family members, friends, colleagues and acquaintances gathered in the St. Helens High School auditorium for a memorial service to honor Jennifer Warren on June 3.

Warren, who worked at Columbia Community Mental health as a mental health worker, was fatally stabbed two weeks earlier while delivering medications to a patient. That patient, later identified as Brent Redd Jr., in now being held on murder charges at Oregon State Hospital. Warren was just three days shy of her 40th birthday.

Jennifer Warren

Jennifer Warren

Rather than remembering the tragic way her life ended, the memorial service focused instead on the positive way Warren lived. Family members often described her as the kind of person who would tell you the truth, no matter how much that truth might hurt, but always in a loving and caring way.

Sister Shirley Warren II said it was important to Jennifer Warren to share her positive approach to life with others in her hometown and never traveled too far away.

“My sister did many selfless acts for me through the years,” said Shirley Warren II. “She taught me that honesty might sound brutal and that it does not have an expiration date.”

She said her sister had also made great strides in life and that she stood her ground when it came to those things she believed in. “She had achieved a certain generosity about her that I am so grateful for and proud of,” she said.

Younger brother Kenny Warren Jr. recalled his older sister’s never ending support.

“Jennifer was a good big sister. She was always there for me when I needed help,” he said. “And she would always give me her honest opinion. Even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.”

Joining family members in paying tribute were Warren’s coworkers from CCMH. While they may have been colleagues, many of her coworkers also considered Warren a treasured friend.

Julie Knapp had known Warren since her coming to work at CCMH nearly a decade earlier. In preparation for the service, Knapp spent time during the week prior talking with others to hear their thoughts and remembrances.

“I found that there was a theme when talking about Jennifer. Her smile was on top of the list and how it became contagious. It made me wonder if Jennifer thought, ‘If I smile, others will too,’ as that seemed to be the result,” Knapp said.

She went on to add that along with her reliability, Warren was most remembered for her generous nature, citing a time when Warren donated unused vacation to another employee and how she would often rescue stray cats and find them homes,

“Her follow through and responsiveness to others and how she gave praise or let you know when she was upset with you were all qualities of Jennifer’s that her co-workers remembered” said Knapp. “She was able to draw people in and make you a friend. She was never just a co-worker.”

Following the memorial service, family and close friends gathered for a private reception.

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