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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 1038

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 02/11/2019 02:18pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to corrections; establishing an Office of Ombudsman for Mental Health
Services in Correctional or Detention Facilities; amending Minnesota Statutes
2018, section 243.48, subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota
Statutes, chapters 13; 241.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [13.856] OMBUDSMAN FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN
CORRECTIONAL OR DETENTION FACILITIES.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 1. new text end

new text begin Private data. new text end

new text begin The following data maintained by the ombudsman for mental
health services in correctional or detention facilities under sections 241.691 to 241.696 are
private data on individuals:
new text end

new text begin (1) data related to contacts made by clients seeking the assistance of the ombudsman,
except as provided in subdivisions 2 and 3;
new text end

new text begin (2) data recorded from personal and phone conversations and in correspondence between
ombudsman's staff and any person interviewed during the course of an investigation;
new text end

new text begin (3) client index cards;
new text end

new text begin (4) case assignment data; and
new text end

new text begin (5) monthly closeout data.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Confidential data. new text end

new text begin The written summary of the investigation maintained by
the ombudsman, to the extent it identifies individuals, is confidential data on individuals.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Public data. new text end

new text begin Client name, client location, and the inmate identification number
assigned by the Department of Corrections maintained by the ombudsman are public.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Access to data. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman for corrections has access to corrections and
detention data and medical data as provided under section 241.695.
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [241.691] OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN; CREATION; QUALIFICATIONS;
FUNCTION.
new text end

new text begin The Office of Ombudsman for Mental Health Services in Correctional or Detention
Facilities shall promote the highest standards for treatment, competency, efficiency, and
justice with regard to persons in custody who have mental illnesses. The ombudsman is
appointed by the governor, serves in the unclassified service, is selected without regard to
political affiliation, and is a person highly competent and qualified to analyze questions of
mental health, law, administration, and public policy. The ombudsman may only be removed
for just cause. No person may serve as ombudsman while holding any other public office.
The ombudsman has the authority to investigate decisions, acts, and other matters of the
Department of Corrections and regional or local corrections or detention facilities licensed
or inspected by the commissioner of corrections.
new text end

Sec. 3.

new text begin [241.692] DEFINITIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Applicability. new text end

new text begin For the purposes of sections 241.691 to 241.696, the
following terms have the meanings given.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Administrative agency or agency. new text end

new text begin "Administrative agency" or "agency" means
any division, official, or employee of the Department of Corrections, the commissioner of
corrections, the Board of Pardons, and any regional or local correctional facility licensed
or inspected by the commissioner of corrections, whether public or private, established and
operated for the detention and confinement of adults or juveniles including, but not limited
to, programs or facilities operating under chapter 401, adult halfway homes, secure juvenile
detention facilities, juvenile residential facilities, municipal holding facilities, juvenile
temporary holdover facilities, regional or local jails, lockups, work houses, work farms, and
detention and treatment facilities, but does not include:
new text end

new text begin (1) any court or judge;
new text end

new text begin (2) any member of the senate or the house of representatives;
new text end

new text begin (3) the governor or the governor's personal staff;
new text end

new text begin (4) any instrumentality of the federal government; or
new text end

new text begin (5) any interstate compact.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Ombudsman. new text end

new text begin "Ombudsman" means the ombudsman for mental health services
in correctional or detention facilities.
new text end

Sec. 4.

new text begin [241.693] ORGANIZATION OF OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Employee selection. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may select, appoint, and compensate
out of available funds assistants and employees considered necessary to discharge the
responsibilities of the office. The ombudsman and full-time staff are members of the
Minnesota State Retirement System.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Delegation of duties. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may delegate to staff members any of
the ombudsman's authority or duties except the duty of making formal recommendations
to an administrative agency or reports to the governor or the legislature.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [241.694] POWERS OF OMBUDSMAN; INVESTIGATIONS; ACTIONS
ON COMPLAINTS; RECOMMENDATIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Powers. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may:
new text end

new text begin (1) prescribe the methods by which complaints are made, reviewed, and acted upon;
except the ombudsman may not levy a complaint fee;
new text end

new text begin (2) determine the scope and manner of investigations;
new text end

new text begin (3) except as otherwise provided, determine the form, frequency, and distribution of
conclusions, recommendations, and proposals; provided, however, that the governor or a
representative may, at any time the governor considers it necessary, request and receive
information from the ombudsman. Neither the ombudsman nor any member of the
ombudsman's staff shall be compelled to testify or to produce evidence in any judicial or
administrative proceeding with respect to any matter involving the exercise of the
ombudsman's official duties except as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of sections
241.691 to 241.696;
new text end

new text begin (4) investigate, upon a complaint or personal initiative, any action of an administrative
agency;
new text end

new text begin (5) request, and be given access to, information in the possession of an administrative
agency that is necessary for the discharge of responsibilities;
new text end

new text begin (6) examine the records and documents of an administrative agency;
new text end

new text begin (7) enter and inspect, at any time, premises within the control of an administrative agency;
new text end

new text begin (8) subpoena any person to appear, give testimony, or produce documentary or other
evidence which the ombudsman considers relevant to a matter under inquiry, and petition
the appropriate state court to seek enforcement with the subpoena; provided, however, that
any witness at a hearing or before an investigation as herein provided, shall possess the
same privileges reserved to a witness in the courts or under the laws of this state;
new text end

new text begin (9) bring an action in an appropriate state court to provide the operation of the powers
provided in this subdivision. The ombudsman may use the services of legal assistance to
Minnesota prisoners for legal counsel. The provisions of sections 241.691 to 241.696 are
in addition to other provisions of law under which any remedy or right of appeal or objection
is provided for any person, or any procedure provided for inquiry or investigation concerning
any matter. Nothing in sections 241.691 to 241.696 shall be construed to limit or affect any
other remedy or right of appeal or objection nor shall it be deemed part of an exclusionary
process; and
new text end

new text begin (10) be present at commissioner of corrections parole and parole revocation hearings
and deliberations.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Actions against ombudsman. new text end

new text begin No proceeding or civil action except removal
from office or a proceeding brought pursuant to chapter 13 shall be commenced against the
ombudsman for actions taken pursuant to the provisions of sections 241.691 to 241.696,
unless the act or omission is actuated by malice or is grossly negligent.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Matters appropriate for investigation. new text end

new text begin (a) In selecting matters for attention,
the ombudsman shall address specifically the actions of an administrative agency which
may be:
new text end

new text begin (1) contrary to law or rule;
new text end

new text begin (2) unreasonable, unfair, oppressive, or inconsistent with any policy or judgment of an
administrative agency;
new text end

new text begin (3) mistaken in law or arbitrary in the ascertainment of facts;
new text end

new text begin (4) unclear or inadequately explained when reasons should have been revealed; or
new text end

new text begin (5) inefficiently performed; and may result in medical neglect or deteriorating mental
health.
new text end

new text begin (b) The ombudsman may also be concerned with strengthening procedures and practices
that lessen the risk that objectionable actions of the administrative agency will occur.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Complaints. new text end

new text begin (a) The ombudsman may receive a complaint from any source
concerning an action of an administrative agency. The ombudsman may, on personal motion
or at the request of another, investigate any action of an administrative agency.
new text end

new text begin (b) The ombudsman may exercise powers without regard to the finality of any action of
an administrative agency; however, the ombudsman may require a complainant to pursue
other remedies or channels of complaint open to the complainant before accepting or
investigating the complaint.
new text end

new text begin (c) After completing investigation of a complaint, the ombudsman shall inform the
complainant, the administrative agency, and the official or employee of the action taken.
new text end

new text begin (d) A letter to the ombudsman from a person in an institution under the control of an
administrative agency shall be immediately forwarded, unopened, to the ombudsman's
office. A reply from the ombudsman to the person shall be delivered unopened to the person,
promptly after its receipt by the institution.
new text end

new text begin (e) No complainant shall be punished nor shall the general condition of the complainant's
confinement or treatment be unfavorably altered as a result of the complainant having made
a complaint to the ombudsman.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Investigation of adult local jails and detention facilities. new text end

new text begin Either the
ombudsman or the Department of Corrections jail inspection unit may investigate complaints
involving local adult jails and detention facilities. The ombudsman and Department of
Corrections must enter into an arrangement to ensure that services are not duplicated.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Recommendations. new text end

new text begin (a) If, after duly considering a complaint and any material
the ombudsman deems pertinent, the ombudsman is of the opinion that the complaint is
valid, the ombudsman may recommend that an administrative agency:
new text end

new text begin (1) consider the matter further;
new text end

new text begin (2) modify or cancel its actions;
new text end

new text begin (3) alter a ruling;
new text end

new text begin (4) explain more fully the action in question; or
new text end

new text begin (5) take any other step which the ombudsman recommends to the administrative agency
involved. If the ombudsman so requests, the agency shall within the time the ombudsman
specifies inform the ombudsman about the action taken on the ombudsman's recommendation
or the reasons for not complying with it.
new text end

new text begin (b) If the ombudsman has reason to believe that any public official or employee has
acted in a manner warranting criminal or disciplinary proceedings, the ombudsman may
refer the matter to the appropriate authorities.
new text end

new text begin (c) If the ombudsman believes that an action upon which a valid complaint is founded
has been dictated by statute, and that the statute produces results or effects which are unfair
or otherwise objectionable, the ombudsman shall bring to the attention of the governor and
the legislature the ombudsman's views concerning desirable statutory change.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Grants. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may apply for and receive grants from public and
private entities for purposes of carrying out the ombudsman's powers and duties under
sections 241.691 to 241.696.
new text end

Sec. 6.

new text begin [241.695] OMBUDSMAN ACCESS TO DATA.
new text end

new text begin Notwithstanding section 13.384 or 13.85, the ombudsman has access to corrections and
detention data and medical data maintained by an agency and classified as private data on
individuals or confidential data on individuals when access to the data is necessary for the
ombudsman to perform the powers under section 241.694.
new text end

Sec. 7.

new text begin [241.696] PUBLICATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS; REPORTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Publication. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may publish conclusions and suggestions
by transmitting them to the governor. Before announcing a conclusion or recommendation
that expressly or impliedly criticizes an administrative agency, or any person, the ombudsman
shall consult with that agency or person. When publishing an opinion adverse to an
administrative agency or to any persons, the ombudsman shall include in the publication
any statement of reasonable length made to the ombudsman by that agency or person in
defense or mitigation of the action.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Annual reports. new text end

new text begin In addition to any reports the ombudsman may make on an
ad hoc basis, the ombudsman shall, at the end of each year, report to the governor concerning
the exercise of the ombudsman's functions during the preceding year.
new text end

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 243.48, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

General searches.

The commissioner of corrections, deleted text beginthedeleted text end governor,
lieutenant governor, members of the legislature,new text begin ombudsman for mental health services in
correctional or detention facilities,
new text end and state officers may visit the inmates at pleasure, but
no other persons without permission of the chief executive officer of the facility, under rules
prescribed by the commissioner. A moderate fee may be required of visitors, other than
those allowed to visit at pleasure. All fees so collected shall be reported and remitted to the
commissioner of management and budget under rules as the commissioner may deem proper,
and when so remitted shall be placed to the credit of the general fund.