Weatherford Democrat

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May 19, 2013

King says he will pursue mental health escape bill

(Continued)

In January, King filed HB 766, which would allow defendants facing a sentence of more than 20 years and with a history or risk of escape or flight to be sent to a maximum security unit of a state hospital.

King has sought to address the loophole in state law that has repeatedly allowed serious offenders an opportunity to flee with relative ease, according to legislative director Ashley Westenhover. At the same time, they hope to keep the law restricted enough not to unduly impact limited bed space available in the state’s maximum security units.

Though King requested a hearing on the bill from the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee chairman, none was scheduled before the May 10 deadline for House bills to be heard, according to Westenhover.

However, they were continuing to search through bills that might be germane to potentially tack the issue on as an amendment, Westenhover said.

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