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KARE 11 Investigates: State Senate overwhelmingly passes immediate funding for gap reforms

Bill launches a new ‘Competency Attainment Board’ to oversee cases where criminal suspects are too mentally ill to stand trial.

ST PAUL, Minn. — The state Senate on Wednesday voted 62 to 0 to immediately fund reforms that would close so-called “gap cases” exposed by a KARE 11 Investigation.

Those cases saw criminal defendants found too mentally ill to stand trial fall through gaps in the state’s justice and mental health systems when they often were released without care or oversight.

KARE 11 found numerous examples where those suspects in gap cases went on to commit murders, rapes and violent assaults.

State lawmakers passed sweeping reforms last year meant to save lives and provide better care and supervision for people battling mental illness. But those reforms were delayed due to a mistake about when the funding was to start.

A bill to fix the funding mistake unanimously passed the House in February. 

If Walz signs the new legislation, it would immediately fund a new “Competency Attainment Board.” The Board will set standards for how people found too mentally ill to stand trial would be supervised and shepherded through the court systems while helping them regain competency to stand trial.

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