Dr. Walter Rhinehart, an adjunct faculty member in the psychology program at Pitt-Bradford, served on the Advisory Committee on
Violence Prevention that presented its findings to the State Senate Judiciary
Committee on Jan. 14.
The senate charged the Joint State
Government Commission early last year with forming the committee to examine
violent crime and mass shootings and topics related to those issues and make
recommendations to the legislature.
Rhinehart, who is a clinical psychologist
in private practice and formerly chief psychologist with Federal Correctional
Institution, McKean, was one of a few dozen professionals from the fields of health
care, school administration, judiciary, and law enforcement to serve on the
The committee made 44
recommendations related to the Mental Health Act, Uniform Firearms Act, and
statutes and practices related to violent crime. Included were revisions to
involuntary commitment standards, codifying duty-to- warn standards, and further
study of the effects of exposure to media violence; mental health awareness and
early intervention training for those who are likely to come into contact with
those in crisis; and funding for community mental health services using
expanded Medicaid funding.
the committee strongly opposed arming school administrators, teachers or other
non-law-enforcement school employees, they urged additional mental health
services for students, consideration for school threat assessment and crisis
teams, and priority status for school safety grant requests from schools that are
the farthest from centralized law enforcement.
full report can be downloaded at http://jsg.legis.state.pa.us/publications.cfm?JSPU_PUBLN_ID=365.