Rhinehart sits on state advisory committee on violence

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 committee.

            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.

While 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.

The full report can be downloaded at http://jsg.legis.state.pa.us/publications.cfm?JSPU_PUBLN_ID=365.

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