The Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) established the Office of Forensic Mental Health Services (OFMHS) to coordinate the development, implementation, and oversight of our forensic services system. The office collaborates with various internal and external entities to ensure that people served by ADMH who are forensically involved have access to quality forensic examinations, appropriate diagnostic and treatment services, and opportunities to receive services in the most appropriate setting given their needs and circumstances.
Six pillars make up the work that we do within the OFMHS: 1) Quality Assurance, 2) Staff Recruitment, Training, and Certification, 3) Treatment, Advocacy, and Programming, 4) Evaluation Services, 5) well-established Standards and Practices, and 6) Data Collection and Management. We establish and maintain a system of care that is responsive to the needs of people with mental illness who interface with ADMH’s forensic services system.
The OFMHS is made up of the Forensic Outpatient Program (FOP). The FOP arranges for the completion of forensic examinations when ADMH is ordered to perform such forensic examination(s). Evaluation services are provided only under a current court order received from a circuit court in Alabama in accordance with standards established by the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 11. More information about the FOP can be found by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As established under the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 11.3, evaluation services are typically provided on an outpatient basis. In rare cases, a defendant may require inpatient care to ensure the safety of the defendant or the community at large. The OFMHS oversees services provided to forensically involved patients within the inpatient sector. Such services involve forensic examinations, restoration, treatment, and discharge planning services.
Certified Forensic Examiner (CFE) Program
In addition to overseeing the Outpatient and Inpatient Forensic Services sectors, the OFMHS also oversees other matters pertaining to forensic services within ADMH including the Certified Forensic Examination (CFE) program. Rule 11.3 establishes that the Circuit Court may order that a forensic examination be conducted by a Psychologist or Psychiatrist appointed by the Commissioner of ADMH. The OFMHS oversees the CFE program to ensure that examinations are conducted by qualified examiners in a timely manner.
The OFMHS offers information and technical assistance to defendants, their families, and court personnel on matters pertaining to the provision of services to individuals with mental illness who are forensically involved.