The Beadle County State’s Attorney’s Office participates in the commitment process of mentally ill persons by representing persons that petition the county Board of Mental Illness for another person’s involuntary commitment to the Human Services Center. A person is subject to involuntary commitment if the person has a severe mental illness, and due to the severe mental illness, is a danger to themselves or others, and needs and is likely to benefit from treatment.
The Mental Health Board of Beadle County is responsible for decisions on sending people with suspected mental illness to Yankton, where Commitment hearings are held at the Human Services Center in Yankton, South Dakota. The Beadle County State’s Attorney’s Office works closely with law enforcement, mental health agencies, and mental health professionals in handling these cases.
An involuntary commitment of person can take place when a person with knowledge of the current condition and/or recent events in a mentally ill person’s life fills out a petition asking that the mentally ill person be committed for treatment.
The petitioner is usually a family member, friend, police officer, social worker, counselor, doctor, or psychiatrist. The person asking for the commitment fills out paperwork, called a petition, stating why they believe a person is mentally ill and needs to be committed. Once the paperwork is signed, law enforcement will take custody of the mentally ill person so that an evaluation can be performed by Community Counseling.
During that hold, the mentally ill person will be examined by a qualified mental health professional who makes the decision whether the mentally ill person should be released or committed for treatment. If the mentally ill person needs to be committed for treatment, a hearing will be held. If the petitioner shows at the hearing that the mentally ill person is a danger to themselves or others bases on suicidal threats or behavior, dangerousness to others, or an inability to care for themselves, then the mentally ill person will be committed for treatment not to exceed 90 days.