DHS also proposes to clarify when an alien seeking adjustment of status, who is inadmissible under section a 4 of the Act, may be granted adjustment of status in the discretion of DHS upon the giving of a public charge bond. DHS is also proposing revisions to existing USCIS information collections and new information collection instruments to accompany the proposed regulatory changes. Written comments and related material to this proposed rule, including the proposed information collections, must be received to the online docket via www.
You may submit comments on this proposed rule, including the proposed information collection requirements, identified by DHS Docket No. USCIS, by any one of the following methods:. Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action. Purpose of the Proposed Rule. Public Charge Inadmissibility Determinations. Immigration to the United States. Extension of Stay and Change of Status. Public Charge Inadmissibility. Public Laws and Case Law. Discussion of Proposed Rule. Applicability, Exemptions, and Waivers.
Applicants for Admission. Extension of Stay and Change of Status Applicants. Adjustment of Status Applicants. Definition of Public Charge and Related Terms. General Assistance Cash Benefits. Housing Programs. Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance. Description of Program. Exceptions for Certain Medicaid Services. Institutionalization for Long-Term Care. Subsidized Public Housing. Public Charge Inadmissibility Determination. Absence of a Required Affidavit of Support.
Prospective Determination Based on Totality of Circumstances. Family Status Start Printed Page Assets, Resources, and Financial Status. Evidence of Assets and Resources. Evidence of Financial Status. General Consideration of Sponsorship and Affidavits of Support. Heavily Weighed Factors. Heavily Weighed Negative Factors. Heavily Weighed Positive Factors. Summary of Review of Factors in the Totality of the Circumstances.
Favorable Determination of Admissibility. Unfavorable Determination of Admissibility. Valuation of Monetizable Benefits. Overview of Immigration Bonds Generally. Overview of Public Charge Bonds. Public Charge Bond Substitution. Public Charge Bond Cancellation. Breach of a Public Charge Bond and Appeal. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies. Public Charge Processing Fees. Other Technical Changes.
Concurrent Surety Bond Rulemaking. Statutory and Regulatory Requirements. Background and Purpose of the Rule. Cost-Benefit Analysis. Form I, Request for Fee Waiver. Affidavit of Support Forms. Form I, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Form I, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. Discounted Direct Costs. Discounted Reduction in Transfer Payments. Regulatory Flexibility Act.
Congressional Review Act. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. Executive Order Federalism. Executive Order Civil Justice Reform. Paperwork Reduction Act. List of Subjects and Regulatory Amendments. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Customs and Border Protection. Department of Homeland Security. Department of State. Form I—Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Form I—Petition for Alien Relative.
Form I—Request for Fee Waiver. Form I—Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. Form I—Public Charge Bond. Form N—Application for Certificate of Citizenship. Government Accountability Office. Department of Health and Human Services. RFE—Request for Evidence. Secretary—Secretary of Homeland Security.
Department of Agriculture. Citizenship and Immigration Services. All interested parties are invited to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written data, views, comments and arguments on all aspects of this proposed rule. DHS also invites comments that relate to the economic, legal, environmental, or federalism effects that might result from this proposed rule.
Comments must be submitted in English, or an English translation must be provided. Comments that will provide the most assistance to U. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS in implementing these changes will reference a specific portion of the proposed rule, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include data, information, or authority that supports such recommended change. USCIS for this rulemaking. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public.
You may wish to consider limiting the amount of personal information that you provide in any voluntary public comment submission you make to DHS. DHS may withhold information provided in comments from public viewing that it determines may impact the privacy of an individual or is offensive. You may also sign up for email alerts on the online docket to be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published. The docket for this rulemaking does not include any comments submitted on the related notice of proposed rulemaking published by INS in DHS seeks to better ensure that aliens subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground are self-sufficient, i.
DHS proposes to amend its regulations to interpret the minimum statutory factors for determining whether an alien is inadmissible because he or she is likely to become a public charge. This proposed rule would provide a standard for determining whether an alien who seeks admission into the United States as a nonimmigrant or as an immigrant, or seeks adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge under section a 4 of the Act, 8 U.
Due to operational limitations, this additional evidence would not generally be required at ports of entry. DHS also proposes amending the nonimmigrant extension of stay and change of status regulations by exercising its authority to set additional conditions on granting such benefits. Finally, DHS proposes to revise its regulations governing the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary to accept a public charge bond under section of the Act, 8 U.
This proposed rule would impose new costs on the population applying to adjust status using Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status Form I that are subject to the public charge grounds on inadmissibility. DHS would now require any adjustment applicants subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground to submit Form I with their Form I to demonstrate they are not likely to become a public charge. The associated time burden estimate for completing these forms would increase because these applicants would be required to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely in the future to receive, public benefits as described in proposed 8 CFR These applicants may also incur additional costs if DHS determines that they are required to submit Form I in support of their applications for extension of stay or change of status.
Moreover, the proposed rule would impose new costs associated with the proposed public charge bond process, including new costs for completing and filing Form I Public Charge Bond , and Form I Request for Cancellation of Public Charge Bond. The proposed rule would impose new costs on the population seeking extension of stay or change of status using Form I, Form ICW, or Form I For any of these forms, USCIS officers would then be able to exercise discretion in determining whether it would be necessary to issue a request for evidence RFE requesting the applicant to submit Form I The proposed rule would potentially impose new costs on individuals or companies obligors if an alien has been found to be inadmissible on public charge grounds, but has been given the opportunity to submit a public charge bond, for which USCIS intends to use the new Form I Moreover, the proposed rule would also result in a reduction in transfer payments from the federal government to individuals who may choose to disenroll from or forego enrollment in a public benefits program.
Individuals may make such a choice due to concern about the consequences to that person receiving public benefits and being found to be likely to become a public charge for purposes outlined under section a 4 of the Act, even if such individuals are otherwise eligible to receive benefits.
Because state. For example, the federal government funds all SNAP food expenses, but only 50 percent of allowable administrative costs for regular operating expenses. DHS recognizes that reductions in federal and state transfers under federal benefit programs may have downstream and upstream impacts on state and local economies, large and small businesses, and individuals. For example, the rule might result in reduced revenues for healthcare providers participating in Medicaid, pharmacies that provide prescriptions to participants in the Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy LIS program, companies that manufacture medical supplies or pharmaceuticals, grocery retailers participating in SNAP, agricultural producers who grow foods that are eligible for purchase using SNAP benefits, or landlords participating in federally funded housing programs.
Additionally, the proposed rule would add new direct and indirect costs on various entities and individuals associated with regulatory familiarization with the provisions of this rule. Familiarization costs involve the time spent reading the details of a rule to understand its changes. To the extent that an individual or entity directly regulated by the rule incurs familiarization costs, those familiarization costs are a direct cost of the rule.
For example, immigration lawyers, immigration advocacy groups, health care providers of all types, non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, and religious organizations, among others, may need or want to become familiar with the provisions of this proposed rule. An entity, such as a non-profit or advocacy group, may have more than one person that reads the rule.
Familiarization costs incurred by those not directly regulated are indirect costs. DHS estimates the time that would be necessary to read this proposed rule would be approximately 8 to 10 hours per person, resulting in opportunity costs of time. The primary benefit of the proposed rule would be to help ensure that aliens who apply for admission to the United States, seek extension of stay or change of status, or apply for adjustment of status are self-sufficient, i. The elimination of this form would potentially reduce the number of forms USCIS would have to process, although it likely would not reduce overall processing burden.
A public charge bond process would provide benefits to applicants as they potentially would be given the opportunity to adjust their status if otherwise admissible, at the discretion of DHS, after a determination that they are likely to become public charges. Table 1 provides a more detailed summary of the proposed provisions and their impacts. DHS seeks to better ensure that applicants for admission to the United States and applicants for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident who are subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility are self-sufficient, i.
The statute requires DHS to consider the following minimum factors that reflect the likelihood that an alien will become a public charge: The alien's age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills. DHS may also consider any affidavit of support submitted by the alien's sponsor and any other factor relevant to the likelihood of the alien becoming a public charge.
A Aliens within the Nation's borders not depend on public resources to meet their needs, but rather rely on their own capabilities and the resources of their families, their sponsors, and private organizations; and. B The availability of public benefits not constitute an incentive for immigration to the United States.
Within this administrative and legislative context, DHS's view of self-sufficiency is that aliens subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility must rely on their own capabilities and secure financial support, including from family members and sponsors, rather than seek and receive public benefits to meet their needs. Aliens subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility include: Immediate relatives of U. Most employment-based immigrants are coming to work for their petitioning employers; DHS believes that by virtue of their employment, such immigrants should have adequate income and resources to support themselves without resorting to seeking public benefits.
Similarly, DHS believes that, consistent with section a 4 , nonimmigrants should have sufficient financial means or employment, if authorized to work, to support themselves for the duration of their authorized admission and temporary stay. In addition, immediate relatives of U. DHS's view of self-sufficiency also informs other aspects of this proposal. DHS proposes that aliens who seek to change their nonimmigrant status or extend their nonimmigrant stay generally should also be required to continue to be self-sufficient and not remain in the United States to avail themselves of any public benefits for which they are eligible, even though the public charge inadmissibility determination does not directly apply to them.
Such aliens should have adequate financial resources to maintain the status they seek to extend or to which they seek to change for the duration of their temporary stay, and must be able to support themselves. As noted above, Congress codified the minimum mandatory factors that must be considered as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination under section a 4 of the Act, 8 U. In addition, the Interim Field Guidance placed its emphasis on primary dependence on cash public benefits.
This proposed rule would improve upon the Interim Field Guidance by removing the artificial distinction between cash and non-cash benefits, and aligning public charge policy with the self-sufficiency principles set forth in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of PRWORA.
DHS's authority for making public charge inadmissibility determinations and related decisions is found in several statutory provisions. Section of the Homeland Security Act of Pub. In addition to establishing the Secretary's general authority for the administration and enforcement of immigration laws, section of the Act enumerates various related authorities including the Secretary's authority to establish regulations and prescribe such forms of bond as are necessary for carrying out her authority.
Section of the Act, 8 U. Section a 4 of the Act also establishes the affidavit of support requirement as applicable to certain family-based and employment-based immigrants, and exempts certain aliens from both the public charge ground of inadmissibility and the affidavit of support requirement. That section authorizes the Secretary to establish the amount and conditions of such bond.
Section A of the Act, 8 U. The Secretary proposes the changes in this rule under these authorities. The INA governs whether an alien may obtain a visa, be admitted to or remain in the United States, or obtain an extension of stay, change of status, or adjustment of status. Department of State DOS and thereafter seek admission in the appropriate immigrant classification. If the alien is present in the United States, he or she may be eligible to apply to USCIS for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident. In the nonimmigrant context, the nonimmigrant typically applies directly to the U.
The inspection is conducted by immigration officers in a timeframe and setting distinct from the visa adjudication process. If a nonimmigrant alien is present in the United States, he or she may be eligible to apply to USCIS for an extension of nonimmigrant stay or change of nonimmigrant status. DHS has the discretion to waive certain grounds of inadmissibility as designated by Congress. Where an alien is seeking an immigration benefit that is subject to a ground of inadmissibility, DHS cannot approve the immigration benefit being sought if a waiver of that ground is unavailable under the INA, the alien does not meet the statutory and regulatory requirements for the waiver, or the alien does not warrant the waiver in any authorized exercise of discretion.
Pursuant to section a 1 of the Act, 8 U.
The extension of stay regulations require a nonimmigrant applying for an extension of stay to demonstrate that he or she is admissible to the United States. Under section of the Act, 8 U. Section a 4 of the Act, 8 U. The public charge ground of inadmissibility, therefore, applies to any alien applying for a visa to come to the United States temporarily or permanently, for admission, or for Start Printed Page adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident.
The INA does not define public charge. It does, however, specify that when determining if an alien is likely at any time to become a public charge, consular officers and immigration officers must, at a minimum, consider the alien's age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills. Some immigrant and nonimmigrant categories are exempt from the public charge inadmissibility ground. DHS proposes to list these categories in the regulation. DHS also proposes to list in the regulation the applicants that the law permits to apply for a waiver of the public charge inadmissibility ground.
Additionally, section a 4 of the Act, 8 U. In general, an alien whom DHS has determined to be inadmissible based on the public charge ground may, if otherwise admissible, be admitted at the discretion of the Secretary upon giving a suitable and proper bond or undertaking approved by the Secretary. Since at least , the United States has denied admission to aliens on public charge grounds. A series of administrative decisions after passage of the Act clarified that a totality of the circumstances review was the proper framework for making public charge determinations and that receipt of welfare would not, alone, lead to a finding of likelihood of becoming a public charge.
Some specific circumstance, such as mental or physical disability, advanced age, or other fact showing that the burden of supporting the alien is likely to be cast on the public, must be present. A healthy person in the prime of life cannot ordinarily be considered likely to become a public charge, especially where he has friends or relatives in the United States who have indicated their ability and willingness to come to his assistance in case of emergency.
The fact that an alien has been on welfare does not, by itself, establish that he or she is likely to become a public charge. The totality of circumstances approach to public charge inadmissibility determinations was codified in relation to one specific class of aliens in the s. Although IRCA provided otherwise eligible aliens an exemption or waiver for some grounds of excludability, the aliens generally remained excludable on public charge grounds. The administrative practices surrounding public charge inadmissibility determinations began to crystalize into legislative changes in the s.
The Immigration Act of reorganized section a of the Act and re-designated the public charge provision as section a 4 of the Act, 8 U. A Any grant, contract, loan, professional license, or commercial license provided by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States; and. B Any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of further provided that an alien who is a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons, or an alien classified as a nonimmigrant under section a 15 T ii of the Act, 8 U. The following tables provide a summary of the definition of federal public benefit and the three categories of public benefits under PRWORA as applicable to aliens and qualified aliens.
Congress chose not to restrict eligibility for certain benefits, including Start Printed Page emergency medical assistance; short-term, in-kind, non-cash emergency disaster relief; and public health assistance related to immunizations and treatment of the symptoms of a communicable disease.
Although PRWORA provided a broad definition of public benefits that only qualified aliens are eligible to receive, [ ] it also made certain public benefits available even to non-qualified aliens. These benefits, which are described in 8 U. In addition, the notice provided for a three-part test in identifying excluded benefits and services for the protection of life and safety. Specified programs must satisfy all three prongs of this test:. The government-funded programs, services, or assistance specified are those that: Deliver in-kind non-cash services at the community level, including through public or private non-profit agencies or organizations; do not condition the provision, amount, or cost of the assistance on the individual recipient's income or resources; and serve purposes of the type described in the list below, for the protection of life or safety.
The community-based programs, services, or assistance are limited to those that provide in-kind non-cash benefits and are open to individuals needing or desiring to participate without regard to income or resources. Programs, services, or assistance delivered at the community level, even if they serve purposes of the type described, are not within this specification if they condition on the individual recipient's income or resources: a The provision of assistance; b the amount of assistance provided; or c the cost of the assistance provided on the individual recipient's income or resources.
Included within the specified programs, services, or assistance determined to be necessary for the protection of life or safety are the following types of programs:. Where the public interest is not served, we should not provide the public assistance to illegal immigrants. These benefits would not be part of the public charge determination under the proposed rule. Congress also generally permitted but did not require consular and immigration officers to consider an enforceable affidavit of support as a factor in the determination of inadmissibility, [ ] except in certain cases where an affidavit of support is required and must be considered at least in that regard.
There is no tension between the availability of public benefits to some aliens as set forth in PRWORA and Congress's intent to deny visa issuance, admission, and adjustment of status to aliens who are likely to become a public charge. Indeed, Congress, in enacting PRWORA and IIRIRA very close in time, must have recognized that it made certain public benefits available to some aliens who are also subject to the public charge grounds of inadmissibility, even though receipt of such benefits could render the alien inadmissible as likely to become a public charge.
Start Printed Page Under the carefully devised scheme envisioned by Congress, aliens generally would not be issued visas, admitted to the United States, or permitted to adjust status if they are likely to become public charges. This prohibition may deter aliens from making their way to the United States or remaining in the United States permanently for the purpose of availing themselves of public benefits.
But Congress also did not correspondingly limit the applicability of the public charge statute; if an alien subsequent to receiving public benefits wished to adjust status in order to remain in the United States permanently or left the United States and later wished to return, the public charge inadmissibility consideration naturally including consideration of receipt of public benefits would again come into play. In other words, although an alien may obtain public benefits for which he or she is eligible, the receipt of those benefits may be considered for future public charge inadmissibility determination purposes.
With its guidance, INS aimed to stem the fears that were causing noncitizens to refuse limited public benefits, such as transportation vouchers and child care assistance, so that they would be better able to obtain and retain employment and establish self-sufficiency. The Deputy Secretary of HHS, which administers Temporary Assistance for Needy Families TANF , Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program CHIP , and other benefits, advised that the best evidence of whether an individual is relying primarily on the government for subsistence is either the receipt of public cash benefits for income maintenance purposes or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.
The letters did not foreclose the agency adopting a different definition consistent with statutory authority. The proposed rule provided that non-cash, supplemental and certain limited cash, special purpose benefits should not be considered for public charge purposes, in light of INS' decision to define public charge by reference to primary dependence on public benefits. Ultimately, however, INS did not publish a final rule conclusively addressing these issues.
Offenders who need psychiatric interventions for their mental illness should be held in secure facilities if they have committed serious crimes, but those facilities should be designed and operated to meet treatment needs. Society gains little from incarcerating offenders with mental illness in environments that are, at best, counter-therapeutic and, at worst dangerous to their mental and physical well-being.
As another federal judge eloquently noted:. All humans are composed of more than flesh and bone - even those who, because of unlawful and deviant behavior, must be locked away….
Mental health, just as much as physical health, is a mainstay of life. Indeed, it is beyond any serious dispute that mental health is a need as essential to a meaningful human existence as other basic physical demands our bodies may make for shelter, warmth, or sanitation. Doing time in prison is hard for everyone. Prisons are tense and overcrowded facilities in which all prisoners struggle to maintain their self-respect and emotional equilibrium despite violence, exploitation, extortion, and lack of privacy; stark limitations on family and community contacts; and a paucity of opportunities for meaningful education, work, or other productive activities.
But doing time in prison is particularly difficult for prisoners with mental illness that impairs their thinking, emotional responses, and ability to cope. They have unique needs for special programs, facilities, and extensive and varied health services. Compared to other prisoners, moreover, prisoners with mental illness also are more likely to be exploited and victimized by other inmates. Mental illness impairs prisoners' ability to cope with the extraordinary stresses of prison and to follow the rules of a regimented life predicated on obedience and punishment for infractions.
These prisoners are less likely to be able to follow correctional rules.
Their misconduct is punished - regardless of whether it results from their mental illness. Even their acts of self-mutilation and suicide attempts are too often seen as "malingering" and punished as rule violations. As a result, mentally ill prisoners can accumulate extensive disciplinary histories.
Our research suggests that few prisons accommodate their mental health needs. Security staff typically view mentally ill prisoners as difficult and disruptive, and place them in barren high-security solitary confinement units. The lack of human interaction and the limited mental stimulus of twenty-four-hour-a-day life in small, sometimes windowless segregation cells, coupled with the absence of adequate mental health services, dramatically aggravates the suffering of the mentally ill. Some deteriorate so severely that they must be removed to hospitals for acute psychiatric care. But after being stabilized, they are then returned to the same segregation conditions where the cycle of decompensation begins again.
International human rights law and standards specifically address conditions of confinement, including the treatment of mentally ill prisoners. If, for example, U. These human rights documents affirm the right of prisoners not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading conditions of confinement and the right to mental health treatment consistent with community standards of care. That is, human rights standards do not permit corrections agencies to ignore or undertreat mental illness just because a person is incarcerated.
The Eighth Amendment to the U. Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, also provides prisoners a right to humane conditions of confinement, including mental health services for serious illnesses. Prisoners are not, however, a powerful public constituency, and legislative and executive branch officials typically ignore their rights absent litigation or the threat of litigation. Lawsuits under the U. Constitution can only accomplish so much. Federal courts have interpreted the U.
Constitution as violated only when officials are "deliberately indifferent" to prisoners' known and serious mental health needs. Neglect or malpractice are not constitutional violations. In most states, prisoners cannot sue public officials under state law for medical malpractice. Finally, the misguided Prison Litigation Reform Act, enacted in , has seriously hampered the ability of prisoners to achieve effective and timely help from the courts.
Mental health treatment can help some people recover from their illness, and for many others it can alleviate its painful symptoms. It can enhance independent functioning and encourage the development of more effective internal controls. In the context of prisons, mental health services play an even broader role. By helping individual prisoners regain health and improve coping skills, they promote safety and order within the prison community as well as offer the prospect of enhancing community safety when the offenders are ultimately released. The components of quality, comprehensive mental health care in prison are well known.
Peer review and quality assurance programs help ensure that proper policies on paper are translated into practice inside the prisons. Many prison systems have good policies on paper, but implementation can lag far behind. In recent years, some prison systems have begun to implement system-wide reforms - often prompted by litigation - and innovative programs to attend to the mentally ill. Nevertheless, across the country, seriously ill prisoners continue to confront a paucity of qualified staff who can evaluate their illness, develop and implement treatment plans, and monitor their conditions; they confront treatment that consists of little more than medication or no treatment at all; they remain at unnecessarily high risk for suicide and self-mutilation; they live in the chaos of the general prison population or under the strictures of solitary confinement - with brief breaks in a hospital - because of the lack of specialized facilities that would provide the long-term supportive, therapeutically-oriented environment they need.
Providing mental health services to incarcerated offenders is frustrated by lack of resources. It is also frustrated by the realities of prison life. Correctional mental health professionals work in facilities run by security staff according to rules never designed for or intended to accommodate the mentally ill. For example, mentally ill prisoners are consigned to segregated units even though the harsh, isolated confinement in such units can provoke psychiatric breakdown.
Moreover, the rules designed by security staff for prisoners in solitary confinement prevent mental health professionals from providing little more than medication to the mentally ill confined in these units; they cannot provide much needed private counseling, group therapy, and structured activities. Correctional staff who have the most contact with prisoners and who are often called upon to make decisions regarding their needs - particularly in the evenings when mental health staff are not present - often lack the training to recognize symptoms of mental illness and to handle appropriately prisoners who are psychotic or acting in bizarre or even violent ways.
It is easy for untrained correctional staff to assume an offender is deliberately breaking the rules or is faking symptoms of illness for secondary gain, such as to obtain a release from solitary confinement into a less harsh hospital setting. Many experts with whom we spoke also noted that, unfortunately, the judgment of some mental health professionals working in prisons becomes compromised over time. They become quick to find malingering instead of illness; to see mentally ill prisoners as troublemakers instead of persons who may be difficult but are nonetheless deserving of serious medical attention.
The tendency to limit treatment to the most acutely and patently ill is also encouraged by the lack of resources; since everyone cannot receive appropriate treatment, mental health staff limit their attention to only a few. The growing number of mentally ill persons who are incarcerated in the United States is an unintended consequence of two distinct public policies adopted over the last thirty years.
First, elected officials have failed to provide adequate funding, support, and direction for the community mental health systems that were supposed to replace the mental health hospitals shut down as part of the "deinstitutionalization" effort that began in the s. A federal advisory commission appointed by President George W.
Left untreated and unstable, they enter the criminal justice system when they break the law. Most of their crimes are minor public order or nuisance crimes, but some are felonies which lead to prison sentences. Second, elected officials have embraced a punitive anti-crime effort, including a national "war on drugs" that dramatically expanded the number of persons brought into the criminal justice system, the number of prison sentences given even for nonviolent crimes particularly drug and property offenses , and the length of those sentences. Prison and jail populations have soared, more than quadrupling in the last thirty years.
A considerable proportion of that soaring prison population consists of the mentally ill. There is growing recognition in the United States that the country can ill-afford its burgeoning prison population, and that for many crimes, public goals of safety and crime reduction would be equally - if not better - served by alternatives to incarceration, including drug and mental health treatment programs. Momentum is building, albeit slowly, to divert low-level nonviolent offenders from prison - an effort that would benefit many of the mentally ill.
But until the country makes radical changes in its approach to community mental health - as well as poverty and homelessness - there is every likelihood that men and women with mental illness will continue to be over-represented among prison populations. Corrections officials recognize the challenge posed to their work by the large and growing number of prisoners with mental illness. They recognize they are being asked to serve a function for which they are ill equipped.
Most of what we say in this report will not be new to them. We hope our report, and the extensive documentation of human suffering that it contains, will support their efforts to ensure appropriate conditions of confinement and mental health services for the mentally ill men and women consigned to them.
We hope it helps marshal political sentiments and public opinion to understand the need for enhanced mental health resources - for those in as well as outside of prison. We also hope it encourages dramatic changes in the use of prisons in the United States - reserving them for dangerous violent offenders who must be securely confined and not for low-level nonviolent offenders. The problems we document in this report can be solved - but to do so requires drastically more public commitment, compassion, and common sense than have been shown to date. We are keenly aware of the many related problems that we have excluded from this report.
Our inquiry is limited to adults, although a high percentage of youth in the juvenile justice system are also mentally ill. We concentrate on mental illness, while recognizing that prisoners who are developmentally disabled or suffer from organic brain damage also face unique and important problems.
And our inquiry is limited to prisons, although we acknowledge - as all who are familiar with jails must - that jails are equally, if not more, overwhelmed by mentally ill prisoners for whom they are ill-equipped to care. There are approximately fourteen hundred adult prisons in the United States, operated by or responsible to fifty state correctional agencies and the federal bureau of prisons. We have not attempted to produce a comprehensive assessment of the treatment of mentally ill prisoners in any one of these prisons or prison systems.
Nor have we sought to identify those that deserve praise for the progress they have made in providing mental health services. Rather, we have sought to identify widely, albeit not universally, shared problems and to present illustrative examples. The time period covered in this report is from the mids to the present. Examples of specific problems in individual prisons presented in this report may have been subsequently addressed by correctional authorities, and, where we are aware of such remedial measures, we have described them.
This report is based on research, interviews, and visits to numerous correctional facilities conducted primarily between and , although we visited some prisons in earlier years. We also interviewed by telephone many correctional staff, including mental health professionals, in a number of states whose facilities we did not visit.
In the course of our research, we have consulted experts in numerous fields, including psychiatry, psychology, bio-statistics, law, correctional security classifications, prison architecture, suicide protocols, prison mental health care, public health care, community mental health, counseling, and substance abuse treatment. We have also drawn on many other resources, including opinions generated in court rulings; information gathered by court monitors as well as experts hired for court challenges to prison mental health services; academic and professional writing on correctional mental health issues; and unpublished studies.
Prisoners were contacted through advertisements placed in Prison Legal News asking seriously mentally-ill prisoners to write to Human Rights Watch, through attorneys who had been involved in litigating cases on mental illness in prisons, through family members who believed their incarcerated relatives needed mental health help that they were not receiving, and through organizations such as state protection and advocacy groups. Throughout this report, we provide extracts from letters prisoners with mental illness sent us.
We have not sought to verify the specific allegations made in them and recognize that some may be embellished or altered in the telling. Nevertheless, the letters are eloquent testimony to the prisoners' sense of their experience. Where prisoners' letters are quoted, we have left in place spelling and grammatical errors.
It is impossible to do justice to the wealth of information accumulated during research for this report without creating a publication that was thousands of pages in length. Yet, because prisons operate in secret, for the most part, it is important for the public to have access to as much material as is possible. We have placed some of the expert reports produced during litigation on our website, as they are not readily available to the public, and reveal, in often harrowing detail, problems with specific prisons regarding the treatment of mentally ill offenders.
At one point and time in my life here in prison I wanted to just take my own life away. Everything in prison that's wrong is right, and everything that's right is wrong. I've been jump, beat, kick and punch in full restraint four times…. Two times I've been put into nude four point as punishment and personal harassment…. During the time I wanted to just end my life thre was no counseling, no programs to attend.
I was told if I didn't take my psych meds I was "sol. I had no help whatsoever days and week and months I had to deal with myself. Depression, not eating, weight loss, everyday, overwhelmed by the burdens of life. I shift between feeling powerless and unworthy to feeling angry and victimized.
I would think about death or killing myself daily. For eight months or a year I was not myself. From Oct to like Sept or Nov of …. I was just kept into a lock cell ready to end my life at any given time. Each [time] I would try to hang myself it never work out. I cut my arms. I really was going thru my emotions and depression…. I would rather live inside a zoo. The way I've been treated here at this prison I couldn't do a dog this way. No prison system in the United States intentionally harms mentally ill prisoners through a policy of providing substandard care.
Nevertheless, poor mental health treatment for mentally ill prisoners is a national reality. The government is responsible for protecting basic human rights, particularly those of the most vulnerable, and making wise use of limited criminal justice resources. Public officials must make the necessary improvements. Public support, particularly in times of tight budgets, is crucial to ensuring officials fulfill their responsibilities. Prescriptions for quality mental health care in prisons are plentiful.
Little would be served by repeating here all those recommendations. Our research suggests that what is lacking in prison mental health services is not knowledge about what is needed, but the resources and commitment to do it. We therefore present here three sets of recommendations: one directed at the U. Congress specifically; one directed at public officials, community leaders and members of the general public; and one directed at prison officials and their staff.
Currently pending before the U. If enacted, the bill could catalyze significant reforms across the country in the way the criminal justice system responds to people with mental illness. The bill authorizes grants to help communities establish diversion programs pre-booking, jail diversion, mental health courts for mentally ill offenders, treatment programs for mentally ill offenders who are incarcerated, and transitional and discharge programs for mentally ill offenders who have completed their sentences. The grants program would be administered by the Department of Justice in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services and could be used to help pay for mental health treatment services in addition to program planning and administration, education and training, and temporary housing.
Congress should tackle serious deficiencies in federal programs that fund mental health services, including problems of limited coverage and access that keep many mentally ill persons from being able to obtain the treatment they need. For offenders released from prisons, current law leads to long delays in the restoration of eligibility for benefits. Relatively simply changes in the rules governing Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance SSDI would enable ex-offenders with mental illness to avoid those delays and to obtain quickly the ability to pay for needed medication and mental health services in the community and to ensure continuity of care.
Rapid restoration of benefits to released offenders with mental illness not only helps them manage their illness; it also supports public safety by reducing the risk of new involvement with the criminal justice system. Human Rights Watch also urges Congress to amend or repeal the Prison Litigation Reform Act PLRA which severely hinders prisoners in their efforts to remedy unconstitutional conditions in state correctional facilities. We urge Congress to: 1 modify the excessively stringent exhaustion requirement in the PLRA that requires prisoners to comply with all internal prison grievance procedures and appeals before being allowed to bring a federal lawsuit which frustrates the prosecution of many meritorious prisoner lawsuits; 2 repeal the requirement that judicially enforceable consent decrees contain findings of federal law violations; 3 repeal the requirement that all judicial orders automatically terminate two years after they are issued; and 4 restore special masters' and attorneys' fees to reasonable levels.
Public officials - elected and appointed - must act decisively to improve mental health services in U. An ongoing concern should be reducing the population of prisoners who have severe mental illnesses. Second, public officials must develop standards, provide oversight mechanisms, and mobilize resources to ensure effective, quality mental health care in prisons. Steps should be taken at the federal, state, and local levels to reduce the unnecessary and counterproductive incarceration of low-level nonviolent offenders with mental illness.
Mandatory minimum sentencing laws should be revised to ensure prison is reserved for the most serious offenders whether or not mentally ill and prison sentences are not disproportionately harsh. Mental health courts, prosecutorial pretrial diversion, and other efforts should be supported which will divert mentally ill offenders from jails and into community based mental health treatment programs. Reducing the numbers of mentally ill offenders sent to prison will also free up prison resources to ensure appropriate mental health treatment for those men and women with mental illness who must, in fact, be incarcerated for reasons of public safety.
Public officials must not accept low quality mental health services for mentally ill prisoners. They should set standards higher than the constitutional minimum required under the Eighth Amendment, which permits malpractice even on a massive scale. International human rights standards require officials to ensure the highest attainable standard of mental health, including accessible, acceptable, and appropriate and good quality mental health services, provided by trained professionals. Officials should not tolerate the misery and pain of prisoners whose mental illness is left untreated or undertreated.
Quality mental health services in prison will not only help prisoners, but will improve safety within prisons, benefiting others prisoners and staff. Good correctional mental health services will also increase the likelihood that prisoners will be able to return successfully to their communities following release.
Public officials must ensure that all prisoners are confined in conditions consistent with their human dignity. No prisoner should be confined in overcrowded, dangerous, filthy, vermin- or bug-ridden, or unbearably hot cells. Such conditions violate the rights of all prisoners, but they have an especially detrimental effect on prisoners with mental illness. Public officials cannot exercise their obligation to ensure appropriate mental health services for prisoners if they do not have objective information provided by independent and qualified experts.
Correctional officials often do not have an adequate understanding of the limitations on mental health services provided in their prisons, and other elected officials often have even less understanding. Expert reports presented during litigation are often the only way light is shed on prison conditions. Public officials should not wait, however, until an inmate or family member brings a lawsuit. Existing prison accreditation mechanisms-by the American Correctional Association and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care NCCHC -focus primarily on the existence of appropriate policies; they do not assess their implementation or the quality of services actually provided.
The bill, awaiting presidential approval after being adopted by Congress, would permit road construction and trail conservation in the Ucayali region, affecting indigenous peoples, including groups living on the Kugapakori Nahua Nanti territorial reserve. In various cases before the Board of Immigration Appeals up to , oaths which were held as not establishing expatriation included an oath required for employment by a Canadian government-owned airline, an ordination oath in the Church of England , and an admission oath in the German Bar Association. Florida , however, the Court limited the application of Williams to capital cases. York v. By ultrasound recordings, active sleep can be identified by rapid eye movements, breathing, swallowing and atonia, whereas, apnea, absence of eye movements and tonic muscle activity occur during quiet or non-rapid eye movement sleep.
Experience reveals that implementation often lags far behind even the best of policies. Each prison system should have performance evaluations of its mental health services by independent qualified professionals. The results of those evaluations should be public with the names of prisoners kept confidential.
To be able to undertake the evaluations, the experts should have unfettered access to medical records, staff, and prisoners. The experts should be charged with monitoring the ways in which prisons diagnose and treat prisoners; the availability of qualified staff in numbers adequate for prisoner mental health needs; the availability of appropriate facilities to provide different levels of care; the range of therapeutic interventions provided to prisoners and the extent to which prisoners have access to services, programs, and facilities; and policies and practices concerning the use of disciplinary measures such as administrative segregation and physical restraints to respond to inmates with serious mental illnesses.
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Quality controls for mental health services are often rudimentary, ineffective, or nonexistent. Mental health staff often lack an effective opportunity to engage in candid self-criticism, gather data, identify and discuss shared problems, and work with senior corrections officials to develop solutions to problems in the delivery of mental health services. Establishment of internal quality review procedures and the commitment of prison officials and mental health staff to effectively implement those procedures will provide a vital and ongoing complement to external quality assurance audits.
As consumers of mental health services, prisoners are singularly without power to protest poor treatment. They cannot switch to another provider, and their legitimate complaints and concerns are rarely acknowledged, much less responded to by corrections officials. Prisons should establish at an institutional as well as departmental level procedures by which prisoner perspectives about mental health services indeed all medical services are solicited and heeded. Prisoner views should be incorporated into the outside as well as internal quality review mechanisms recommended above. Special prisoner mental health grievance systems should be established predicated on recognition that prisoners are mental health service consumers and their concerns warrant prompt, careful responses.
Current grievance mechanisms are difficult to comply with, rarely result in any meaningful response, and can prompt retaliation from staff. Mentally ill prisoners can have a particularly difficult time following the rules regarding grievances and meeting grievance procedure deadlines. If prison systems attended to prisoner concerns - at the very least communicating to them that they are being listened to - this could well have a beneficial impact on the prisoners' adherence to treatment plans, medication compliance, and other measures critical to their health. If other prisoner-responsive quality control mechanisms are not available, we also recommend the creation of an impartial external entity within individual prisons or system-wide staffed with persons with mental health expertise to evaluate prisoner complaints regarding mental health care and treatment.
We recognize that even corrections departments are not immune from the budget slashing occasioned by current fiscal crises. But even in the best of times, it is difficult to secure adequate funding for services and programs for prisoners. Improvements in mental health services in prison are, unfortunately, heavily dependent on financial resources. Qualified, competent staff cannot be hired and retained in sufficient numbers absent funding. Governors must support adequate funding levels for mental health services and permit corrections officials and mental health staff to argue forcefully, extensively, and publicly on behalf of such funding.
They must present candid analyses to the public of existing problems with correctional mental health treatment, the consequences of those problems and the need for resources to address them. They should encourage legislators to reduce prison populations, by lowering unnecessarily harsh mandatory sentencing laws and by supporting alternatives to incarceration for low-level nonviolent offenders, rather than by cutting indispensable services for those prisoners who must be incarcerated.
Correctional agencies need to act decisively to improve the delivery of mental health services in prisons and prison systems. We recommend they:. Effective training should be provided to all new officers in such areas as: signs of mental illness; different treatments for mental illnesses; side-effects of medications used for the treatment of mental illnesses; effective interaction with mentally ill prisoners; defusing potentially escalating situations; recognition of the signs of possible suicide attempts; and training on the safe use of physical and mechanical restraints for mentally ill offenders.
Additional information pertinent to working with mentally ill prisoners should be provided during in-service training. Prisoners with mental illness can have unique difficulties complying with prison rules and may engage in bizarre or disruptive behavior because of their illness. Punitive responses to such conduct do little to reduce or deter it. When prisoners who are on the mental health caseload violate rules, disciplinary procedures should require mental health input to the disciplinary officers regarding whether the prisoner's behavior was connected to or caused by mental illness, and regarding what sanctions might be appropriate.
In specialized units housing only mentally ill prisoners, corrections officials should work with mental health staff to determine whether the normal prison disciplinary system should be suspended, and mental health staff should determine appropriate responses to prisoner misconduct consistent with his or her mental diagnosis and treatment plan. Human Rights Watch opposes the prolonged and unnecessary incarceration of any prisoner in isolated segregation or supermaximum security units.
Prisoners with serious mental illnesses, even if they are currently stabilized or asymptomatic, should never be confined for prolonged periods in the harsh isolation conditions typical of segregation or supermax prisons. There is an unacceptably high risk that the isolation, reduced mental stimulus, lack of structured activities, and the absence of social interaction will provoke a deterioration of their symptoms and increased suffering.
We recognize there are some prisoners with mental illness who require extreme security precautions even when under mental health treatment. For these individuals, prisons should provide specialized secure units that ensure human interaction and purposeful activities in addition to mental health services. Corrections officials should also make sure that all prisoners in segregated housing have their mental health monitored carefully and continually; that they be able to communicate confidentially with mental health staff; and that they have access to whatever services and therapeutic interventions mental health staff determine are necessary.
To the extent that accommodating mental health needs requires changes in regular rules and protocols governing prisoners in isolation, the changes should be undertaken consistent with reasonable security requirements. Prisons and community mental health systems need to develop comprehensive continuity-of-care protocols and programs to break the cycle of release-recidivism-reincarceration.
Prisoners that have serious mental illnesses should be released from prison with arrangements in place to provide them with access to medication and mental health services. Moving the prisoners prior to their release to prisons in or near the counties to which they will return will allow prison mental health staff and parole officers to liaise more effectively with local mental health service providers to guard against the prisoner falling through the cracks.
Discharge planning efforts should begin months prior to a seriously mentally ill prisoner's release. Corrections agencies should also establish procedures by which prisoners with mental illness will have access to Medicaid immediately upon release rather than having to wait for months to have the paperwork completed. States and counties should increase the number of programs providing housing and assisted living facilities for newly released prisoners with mental illness.
Michael Mahoney, warden, Montana State Prison . We have unfortunately come to accept incarceration and homelessness as part of life for the most vulnerable population among us. Congressman Ted Strickland . Unnamed prison psychiatrist . A staggering number of persons with mental illnesses are confined in U. The causes of this massive incarceration of the mentally ill are many, but corrections and mental health professionals point primarily to inadequate community mental health services and the country's punitive criminal justice policies. While mental health hospitals across the country were shut down over the last couple of decades as part of the process of "deinstitutionalization," the community-based health services that were supposed to replace them were never adequately developed.
As a consequence, many of the mentally ill, particularly those who are poor and homeless, are unable to obtain the treatment they need. Ignored, neglected, and often unable to take care of their basic needs, large numbers commit crimes and find themselves swept up into the burgeoning criminal justice system.
Jails and prisons have become, in effect, the country's front-line mental health providers. Most of the mentally ill who end up in prison are initially incarcerated in jail as pretrial detainees. By all accounts, jails across the country are even less able to care for mentally ill prisoners than prisons. Absent adequate mental health screening and services in jails, the prison systems inherit exacerbated mental health problems when the pretrial detainees suffering from mental illnesses are ultimately sentenced and moved from jail into prison.
Indeed two of the largest mental health providers in the country today are Cook County and Los Angeles County jails, both of them urban entry points into the burgeoning prisons systems of Illinois and California respectively. Persons with mental illness are disproportionately represented in correctional institutions. While about 5 percent of the U. On any given day, between 2. A substantial percentage of inmates exhibit symptoms of other disorders as well, including between 8.
In , the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, drawing on a survey in of adult prisoners, estimated that 16 percent of state and federal adult prisoners and a similar percentage of adults in jails were mentally ill. As these numbers suggest, prisons have become warehouses for a large proportion of the country's men and women with mental illness.
In September , Congressman Ted Strickland informed his colleagues on the House Subcommittee on Crime that between 25 and 40 percent of all mentally ill Americans would, at some point in their lives, become entangled in the criminal justice system. According to the American Psychiatric Association, over thousand mentally ill Americans are processed through either jail or prison each year. Individual prison systems report high percentages of mentally ill offenders. For example, the California Department of Corrections estimated that as of July , 23, prisoners were on the prison mental health roster, representing over 14 percent of the California prison population.
In Kentucky, There are no national statistics on historical rates of mental illness among the prison population. Some states, however, report a significant increase in recent years in the proportion of prisoners diagnosedwith serious mental illnesses. For example, the mental health caseload in New York prisons has increased by 73 percent since , five times the prison population increase. Fifty years ago, public mental health care was based almost exclusively on institutional care and over half a million mentally ill Americans lived in public mental health hospitals.
Beginning in the early s, states began to downsize and close their public mental health hospitals, a process called "deinstitutionalization. The first generation of effective anti-psychotic medications were developed, which made successful treatment outside of hospitals a real possibility.
Litigation increased due process safeguards in mental hospital involuntary commitment and release procedures, which meant far fewer people could be committed or kept in the hospitals against their will. Today, fewer than eighty thousand people live in mental health hospitals and that number is likely to fall still further. Deinstitutionalization freed hundreds of thousands of mentally ill men and women from large, grim facilities to which most had been involuntarily committed and in which they spent years, if not decades or entire lives, receiving greatly ineffectual, and often brutal, treatment.
Proponents of deinstitutionalization envisioned former mental health hospital patients receiving treatment through community mental health programs and living as independently in the community as their mental conditions permitted. This process was catalyzed by passage of the federal legislation providing seed funding for the establishment of comprehensive mental health centers in the community.
Unfortunately, community mental health services have not been able to play the role the architects of deinstitutionalization envisioned. The federal government did not provide ongoing funding for community services and while states cut their budgets for mental hospitals, they did not make commensurate increases in their budgets for community-based mental health services.
Chronically underfunded, the existing mental health system today does not reach and provide mental health treatment to anywhere near the number of people who need it. Mental health delivery system is fragmented and in disarray…lead[ing] to unnecessary and costly disability, homelessness, school failure and incarceration…In many communities, access to quality care is poor, resulting in wasted resources and lost opportunities for recovery. More individuals could recover from even the most serious mental illnesses if they had access in their communities to treatment and supports that are tailored to their needs.
Today's mental health care system is a patchwork relic - the result of disjointed reforms and policies. Instead of ready access to quality care, the system presents barriers that all too often add to the burden of mental illnesses for individuals, their families, and our communities. The Commission also found that minority communities were particularly underserved in or inappropriately served by the current mental health care system.
It noted that "significant barriers still remain in access, quality, and outcomes of care for minorities…. The professionals in the [mental health] system know much about how to meet the needs of the people it is meant to serve. The problem comes, however, in the ability of the system's intended clientele to access its services and, often, in the system's ability to make these services accessible.
The existing mental health system bypasses, overlooks, or turns away far too many potential clients. Many people the system might serve are too disabled, fearful, or deluded to make and keep appointments at mental health centers. Others simply never make contact and are camped under highway overpasses, huddled on heating grates, or shuffling with grocery carts on city streets.
A governing body may carry out the plan for infrastructure by negotiating master development agreements, independently or in conjunction with an interlocal agreement for the area. The term does not include:. The term does not include a plan for the development of a specific site or regulations adopted by an affected entity to implement the comprehensive regional plan. Added to NRS by , ; A , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:.
The process of regional planning in a county whose population is , or more but less than ,, as set forth in NRS The process of regional planning set forth in NRS The problem of the premature expansion of development into undeveloped areas and the unique needs and opportunities that are characteristic of older neighborhoods may be addressed through:.
It is the intent of the Legislature with respect to NRS There is hereby created in each county whose population is , or more but less than ,, a regional planning commission consisting of:. Except for the terms of the initial members of the commission, the term of each member is 3 years and until the selection and qualification of his or her successor. A member may be reappointed.
A member who ceases to be a member of the local planning commission of the jurisdiction from which he or she is appointed automatically ceases to be a member of the commission. A vacancy must be filled for the unexpired term by the governing body which made the original appointment. The commission shall elect its chair from among its members.
The term of the chair is 1 year. The member elected chair must have been appointed by the governing body of the county or a city whose population is 60, or more, as determined pursuant to a schedule adopted by the commission and made a part of its bylaws which provides for the annual rotation of the chair among each of those governing bodies. Each member of the commission must successfully complete the course of training prescribed by the governing body pursuant to subsection 2 of NRS A member who fails to complete successfully the course of training as required pursuant to this subsection forfeits his or her appointment 1 year after the date on which his or her term of appointment commenced.
Added to NRS by , ; A , ; , ; , The regional planning commission shall request assistance from the governing body of a county, the governing body of a city, a state agency or an affected entity as required to perform its duties. The regional planning commission shall continue to study and develop methods to provide incentives for:.
Mixed-use development, transit-oriented development, the development of a brownfield site and development which minimizes the negative impact on the environment. Large commercial development which provides employee parking at a site other than the commercial development. Such incentives may be developed in cooperation with the regional transportation commission and other local governmental entities.
There is hereby created in each county whose population is , or more but less than ,, a governing board for regional planning consisting of:. If the representative is:. Except for the terms of the initial members of the governing board, the term of each member is 3 years and until the selection and qualification of his or her successor. The governing bodies may appoint representatives to the governing board from within their respective memberships. A member of a local governing body who is so appointed and who subsequently ceases to be a member of that body, automatically ceases to be a member of the governing board.
The governing body may also appoint alternative representatives who may act in the respective absences of the principal appointees. The governing board shall elect its chair from among its members. The member elected chair must have been appointed by the governing body of the county or a city whose population is 60, or more as determined pursuant to a schedule adopted by the governing board and made a part of its bylaws which provides for the annual rotation of the chair among each of those governing bodies.
A member of the governing board who is also a member of the governing body which appointed him or her shall serve without additional compensation. The governing board may appoint such employees as it deems necessary for its work and may contract with city planners, engineers, architects and other consultants for such services as it requires.
The local governments represented on the governing board shall provide the necessary facilities, equipment, staff, supplies and other usual operating expenses necessary to enable the governing board to carry out its functions. The local governments shall enter into an agreement whereby those costs are shared by the local governments in proportion to the number of members that each appoints to the governing board. The agreement must also contain a provision specifying the responsibility of each local government, respectively, of paying for legal services needed by the governing board or by the regional planning commission.
The governing board may sue or be sued in any court of competent jurisdiction. The governing board shall prepare and adopt an annual budget and transmit it as a recommendation for funding to each of the local governments. The governing board:. Shall adopt such regulations as are necessary to carry out its specific powers and duties. Shall prescribe an appropriate course of at least 12 hours of training in land use planning for the members of the regional planning commission. The course of training must include, without limitation, training relating to:.
May establish and collect reasonable fees for the provision of any service that is authorized pursuant to the provisions of NRS May enter into an agreement pursuant to NRS There is hereby created the position of director of regional planning. The director:. Is appointed by the governing board from a list of three names submitted by the regional planning commission, and serves at the pleasure of the governing board;.
Must be selected on the basis of his or her training, experience, capability and interest in planning;. Must have the demonstrated ability to administer a major program relating to planning;. Shall devote his or her entire time and attention to the business of that office and shall not pursue any other business or occupation or hold any other office of profit;. Shall not hold any other position relating to planning with a regional or local entity in the county or be on leave of absence from any other regional or local entity in the county while holding the position of director;. Is responsible for administration of the regional planning program;.
Shall appoint a professional assistant experienced in planning to assist in administration of the program; and. The governing board and the regional planning commission may, jointly or separately, appoint subcommittees for any purpose that is consistent with NRS A subcommittee appointed pursuant to this subsection must be composed only of:.
To assist in the formulation and the implementation of the comprehensive regional plan, the governing board and the regional planning commission may, jointly or separately, appoint advisory committees to advise and report to the governing board, regional planning commission, director of regional planning or a combination of such entities.
The governing board and the regional planning commission may, jointly or separately, appoint advisory committees to examine issues that affect the county in which the governing board and regional planning commission are located. The governing board and regional planning commission may appoint persons from outside the county in which the governing board and regional planning commission are located and from outside this State to serve on an advisory committee appointed pursuant to this section.
An advisory committee appointed pursuant to this subsection may:. The regional planning commission shall develop a comprehensive regional plan for the physical development and orderly management of the growth of the region for the next 20 years. The plan must consist of written text, appropriate maps and such goals and policies, including those addressing current and future problems, as may, in the opinion of the commission, affect the region as a whole and are proper for inclusion in the regional plan.
Before approving the plan, the commission must hold a public hearing on the proposed plan in each of the cities within the region and in the unincorporated area of the county. Before amending the plan, the commission must hold at least one public hearing on the proposed amendment at a location in the region. The approval of the plan or any amendment to it must be by resolution of the commission carried by the affirmative votes of not less than two-thirds of its total membership.
The regional planning commission shall review the plan annually, update it not less than every 5 years, and forward its recommendations regarding proposed amendments to the plan to the governing board for adoption. Amendments to the comprehensive regional plan may be proposed only by the regional planning commission, the governing board or a local governing body. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 8, all requests for amendments to the plan must be studied and considered at public hearings held annually by the commission.
The commission may consider a proposed amendment and determine whether it is necessary to the health and welfare of the community or substantially benefits the community in general. If the commission determines that the amendment is necessary, it may schedule a public hearing on the amendment at any time. Any person may appeal the determination of the commission to the governing board.
Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, notice of the time and place of each hearing required by the provisions of this section must be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the region at least 10 days before the day of the hearing. If there is more than one newspaper of general circulation in the region, notice must be given by publication in at least two such newspapers. Notice of the time and place of the initial meeting of the regional planning commission and the hearing at which the commission receives testimony concerning final approval of the comprehensive regional plan must be given by publication at least 30 days before the day of the meeting or hearing.
Notice given pursuant to this subsection must be a display advertisement of not less than 3 inches by 5 inches. The comprehensive regional plan must include goals, policies, maps and other documents relating to:. Population, including a projection of population growth in the region and the resources that will be necessary to support that population. Conservation, including policies relating to the use and protection of air, land, water and other natural resources, ambient air quality, natural recharge areas, floodplains and wetlands, and a map showing the areas that are best suited for development based on those policies.
The limitation of the premature expansion of development into undeveloped areas, preservation of neighborhoods and revitalization of urban areas, including, without limitation, policies that relate to the interspersion of new housing and businesses in established neighborhoods and set forth principles by which growth will be directed to older urban areas.
Land use and transportation, including the classification of future land uses by density or intensity of development based upon the projected necessity and availability of public facilities, including, without limitation, schools, and services and natural resources, and the compatibility of development in one area with that of other areas in the region.
This portion of the plan must:. Public facilities and services, including provisions relating to sanitary sewer facilities, solid waste, flood control, potable water and groundwater aquifer recharge which are correlated with principles and guidelines for future land uses, and which specify ways to satisfy the requirements created by those future uses.
Annexation, including the identification of spheres of influence for each unit of local government, improvement district or other service district and specifying standards and policies for changing the boundaries of a sphere of influence and procedures for the review of development within each sphere of influence. Intergovernmental coordination, including the establishment of guidelines for determining whether local master plans and facilities plans conform with the comprehensive regional plan.
Any utility project required to be reported pursuant to NRS Added to NRS by , ; A , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , The governing board shall adopt the plan approved by the regional planning commission with any amendments it deems necessary. Before adopting the plan with any amendments the board shall submit each proposed amendment to the regional planning commission for its review and comment.
The commission shall complete its review and return the plan to the governing board within 30 days or as specified by the board. The adoption of the plan or any amendment must be by resolution of the governing board carried by a simple majority of its total membership. Before the adoption of the plan or any amendment, the governing board must hold a public hearing, notice of the time and place of which must be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the region not later than 10 days before the day of the hearing.
The regional planning commission shall adopt guidelines and procedures for the review of whether a proposal for the use of land submitted to a county or city located in the region is a project of regional significance. The county or city shall use the guidelines and procedures adopted by the regional planning commission to determine if a proposal for the use of land is a project of regional significance. Before a project of regional significance is approved finally by the county or city and before construction on a project of regional significance may begin, the regional planning commission must make a finding that the project is in conformance with the adopted regional plan.
In making its determination, the commission shall limit its review to the substance and content of the adopted comprehensive regional plan and shall not consider the merits or deficiencies of a project in a manner other than is necessary to enable it to make that determination.
If the commission fails to make any finding regarding a project of regional significance within 60 days after the project is submitted to it, it shall be deemed that the commission has made a finding that the project conforms with the regional plan. If the commission determines that the project is not in conformance with the regional plan, the determination may be appealed to the governing board within 45 days after the determination is made.
The governing board shall consider the appeal and may reverse the determination of the commission or recommend that the county or city take actions to make the proposal consistent with the comprehensive regional plan. The county or city shall, within 45 days after receipt, consider any such recommendations and direct such changes in the project as are necessary to assure the consistency of the proposal with the adopted regional plan.
The limits on time imposed in subsection 2 of NRS The regional planning commission may designate one or more joint planning areas in the comprehensive regional plan. If an area is designated a joint planning area, the county and the affected cities shall jointly adopt a master plan for the area. Before recommending the master plan for a joint planning area, each affected local planning commission shall jointly hold at least one public hearing thereon. Notice of the time and place of the hearing must be given by at least one publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least 10 days before the day of the hearing.
The recommendation of the master plan for a joint planning area must be by resolution of each affected local planning commission in the joint planning area carried by the affirmative votes of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of each commission.
The resolution must refer expressly to the maps, descriptive matter and other matter intended by the county planning commission and the planning commission of each city in the joint planning area to constitute the recommended master plan for the joint planning area. The master plan for the joint planning area that is recommended by the affected local planning commissions must be considered for adoption by each affected local governing body.
The affected local governing bodies may adopt such parts thereof as may practicably be applied to the development of the joint planning area. The master plan for the joint planning area becomes effective upon the approval by a majority of the membership of each affected local governing body. Before adopting the master plan for the joint planning area, or part thereof, the affected local governing bodies shall jointly hold at least one public hearing thereon. Notice of the time and place of the hearing must be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least 10 days before the day of the public hearing.
If a city has a sphere of influence that is designated in the comprehensive regional plan, the city shall adopt a master plan concerning the territory within the sphere of influence. The master plan and any ordinance required by the master plan must be consistent with the comprehensive regional plan. After adoption and certification of a master plan concerning the territory within the sphere of influence and after adopting the ordinances required by the master plan, if any, the city may exercise any power conferred pursuant to NRS If the comprehensive regional plan designates that all or part of the sphere of influence of a city is a joint planning area, the master plan and any ordinance adopted by the city pursuant to subsection 1 must be consistent with the master plan that is adopted for the joint planning area.
Before certification of the master plan for the sphere of influence pursuant to NRS A person, county or city that is represented on the governing board and is aggrieved by a final determination of the county or, after the certification of the master plan for a sphere of influence, is aggrieved by a final determination of the city, concerning zoning, a subdivision map, a parcel map or the use of land within the sphere of influence may appeal the decision to the regional planning commission within 30 days after the determination.
A person, county or city that is aggrieved by the determination of the regional planning commission may appeal the decision to the governing board within 30 days after the determination. A person, county or city that is aggrieved by the determination of the governing board may seek judicial review of the decision within 25 days after the determination.
Following the initial adoption of the comprehensive regional plan or any portion of it, each local planning commission, and any other affected entity shall review its respective master plan, facilities plan and other similar plans, amend them to conform with the provisions of the comprehensive regional plan, and submit them, within 60 days after the adoption of the comprehensive plan, to the regional planning commission. The regional planning commission shall review the plans at one or more public hearings held within days after their submission and determine whether they conform with the comprehensive regional plan.
The regional planning commission shall specify which parts of the plan, if any, are not in conformance and why they fail to conform. If the regional planning commission fails to make a determination within days after the submission of a plan pursuant to this section, the plan shall be deemed to be in conformance with the comprehensive regional plan.
An affected entity or local governing body that has submitted a plan and disagrees with the reasons given by the regional planning commission for making a determination of nonconformance pursuant to this section may file an objection with the regional planning commission within 45 days after the issuance of that determination. The affected entity or local governing body shall attach its reasons why the plan is in conformance with the comprehensive regional plan.
The regional planning commission shall consider the objection and issue its final determination of conformance or nonconformance within 45 days after the objection is filed. The determination may be appealed to the governing board not later than 30 days after its issuance. Within 45 days after its receipt of an appeal, the governing board shall consider the appeal and issue its decision.
If the board affirms the determination of the commission, the affected entity or local governing body shall, within 60 days after the issuance of the decision, propose revisions to the plan and resubmit the plan together with the proposed revisions to the commission for review in accordance with this section. Before the adoption or amendment of any master plan, facilities plan or other similar plan, each governing body and any other affected entity shall submit the proposed plan or amendment to the regional planning commission, which shall review the plan or amendment at one or more public hearings held within 60 days after its receipt of that plan or amendment and determine whether the proposed plan or amendment conforms with the comprehensive regional plan.
The commission shall specify those parts of the plan or amendment, if any, that are not in conformance and why they fail to conform. Before the adoption or amendment of any master plan, facilities plan or other similar plan by a state agency or a public utility whose plan must be approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, the agency or utility shall submit the proposed plan or amendment to the regional planning commission, which shall, within 60 days after its receipt, review the plan or amendment and offer suggestions to the agency or utility regarding the conformance of the plan with the comprehensive regional plan.
Except as otherwise provided in NRS A proposed plan is in conformance with the comprehensive regional plan if it is not in conflict with the comprehensive regional plan and it promotes the goals and policies of the comprehensive regional plan. If the regional planning commission fails to make a determination within 60 days after its receipt from an affected entity or local governing body of a proposed plan or amendment pursuant to this section, the plan or amendment shall be deemed to be in conformance with the comprehensive regional plan.
An affected entity or a local governing body which has submitted a proposed plan and which disagrees with the reasons given by the regional planning commission for making a determination of nonconformance pursuant to this section, may file an objection with the regional planning commission within 45 days after the issuance of that determination.
Within 45 days after its receipt of an appeal, the governing board shall consider the appeal and issue its decision, which must be made by the affirmative votes of a simple majority of its total membership. If the board affirms the determination of the commission, the affected entity or local governing body shall, within 60 days after the issuance of the decision, propose revisions to the plan and resubmit the plan together with those proposed revisions to the commission for review in accordance with the provisions of this section.
Any determination of conformance made by the commission pursuant to this section must be made by the affirmative votes of not less than two-thirds of its total membership. Any action of a local government relating to development, zoning, the subdivision of land or capital improvements must conform to the master plan of the local government.
In adopting any ordinance or regulation relating to development, zoning, the subdivision of land or capital improvements, the local government shall make a specific finding that the ordinance conforms to the master plan. Within 1 year after its adoption of any portion of a master plan, the local government shall review and, if necessary, amend its existing ordinances to ensure their conformity with the provisions of the master plan.
If any provision of the master plan is inconsistent with any regulation relating to land development, the provision of the master plan governs any action taken in regard to an application for development. Each local planning commission responsible for the preparation of a city or county master plan and each affected entity shall prepare and submit to the regional planning commission and the governing board a complete report by April 1 of each year indicating any action taken within the previous calendar year which furthers or assists in carrying out the policies or programs contained in the comprehensive regional plan, and any work relating to the comprehensive regional plan that is proposed for the next fiscal year.
Before submitting a recommendation for proposed legislation or beginning any program or project relating to the mandatory provisions of the comprehensive regional plan, a unit of local government or an affected entity shall file all relevant information relating to that request, program or project with the governing board.
The region defined in NRS Nothing contained in the provisions of NRS The governing body of each city whose population is 25, or more and of each county whose population is 45, or more shall create by ordinance a planning commission to consist of seven members. Cities whose population is less than 25, and counties whose population is less than 45, may create by ordinance a planning commission to consist of seven members. If the governing body of any city whose population is less than 25, or of any county whose population is less than 45, deems the creation of a planning commission unnecessary or inadvisable, the governing body may, in lieu of creating a planning commission as provided in this subsection, perform all the functions and have all of the powers which would otherwise be granted to and be performed by the planning commission.
The members of the planning commission are appointed by the chief executive officer of the city, or in the case of a county by the chair of the board of county commissioners, with the approval of the governing body.
The members must not be members of the governing body of the city or county. The majority of the members of the county planning commission in any county whose population is , or more must reside within the unincorporated area of the county. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the term of each member is 4 years, or until his or her successor takes office. If applicable, the term of each member of a county or city planning commission in any county whose population is , or more is coterminous with the term of the member of the governing body who recommended the appointment to the appointing authority.
If the recommending member resigns his or her office before the expiration of his or her term, the corresponding member of the planning commission may continue to serve until the office is next filled by election. If the office of the recommending member becomes vacant before the expiration of the term for any other reason, the corresponding member of the planning commission may continue to serve for the duration of the original term. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, members of a county or city planning commission may be removed, after public hearing, by a majority vote of the governing body for just cause.
In a county whose population is , or more, members of a county or city planning commission serve at the pleasure of their appointing authority. Vacancies occurring otherwise than through the expiration of term must be filled for the unexpired term. The commission shall hold at least one regular meeting in each month.
The commission shall adopt rules for transaction of business and shall keep a record of its resolutions, transactions, findings and determinations, which record is a public record. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 4, in a county whose population is , or more, the commission shall not grant to an applicant or authorized representative thereof more than two continuances requested by the applicant or authorized representative on the same matter, unless the commission determines, upon good cause shown, that the granting of additional continuances is warranted.
If the commission grants a continuance pursuant to this subsection for good cause shown, the person on whose behalf the continuance was granted must make a good faith effort to resolve the issues concerning which the continuance was requested. An applicant or authorized representative thereof may request a continuance on a matter on behalf of an officer or employee of a city or county, a member of the commission or any owner of property that may be directly affected by the matter.
If the commission grants the continuance, the continuance must not be counted toward the limitation on the granting of continuances set forth in subsection 3 relating to that matter. The commission shall elect its chair from among the appointed members. The term of chair shall be 1 year, with eligibility for reelection. In addition to electing its chair, the commission shall create and fill such other of its offices as it may determine. The commission may appoint such employees as it may deem necessary for its work, whose appointment, promotion, demotion and removal shall be subject to the same provisions of law as govern other corresponding civil employees of the municipality.
The commission may also contract with city planners, engineers, architects and other consultants for such services as it may require. Except in a county in which a regional planning commission is created pursuant to the provisions of NRS The commission may also contain representatives of the municipalities to be selected in a manner to be determined by ordinance adopted by the governing bodies of the municipalities, or municipalities and the county or counties concerned. The ordinance must specify the membership of the commission, which must consist of not less than six members or more than 12 members.
The ordinance must provide that the term of each member is 4 years, or until his or her successor takes office, except that the terms of two of the members first appointed are 3 years, and the respective terms of two members first appointed are 1 and 2 years. No more than one-third of the members may hold any other public office. For the purposes of this subsection, membership on the planning commission of a county or city must not be considered holding a public office.
Members may be removed, after public hearing, by a majority vote of the governing body, for inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance of office. All appointments to fill vacancies must be for the unexpired term. Annually, each county or regional planning commission shall elect a chair from its own members. It shall have power to employ experts, clerks and a secretary, and to pay for their services and such other expenses as may be necessary and proper, not exceeding, in all, the annual appropriation that may be made by the county or counties or municipalities for the commission, together with such other funds as may be made available through grant, gift or other means.
The governing body of each municipality and of each county included within a regional planning district is authorized independently or in collaboration with other governing bodies, in their discretion, to appropriate from the funds received by the county or municipality from general taxation or other source money for the expenses of the regional or county planning commission.