Wisconsin Forensic Unit
Welcome to the Wisconsin Forensic Unit
As the turn of the century brought change to the world, so too did it bring change to Behavioral Consultants, Inc. In 2001 BCI was awarded a contract from the state and the Wisconsin Forensic Unit (WFU) was born. BCI became a contract agency of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), with responsibility to conduct outpatient competency to proceed evaluations of adult defendants (see Wisconsin Statute 971.14) throughout Wisconsin.
Our professional contract staff is comprised of psychologists and psychiatrists – many of whom are board certified as forensic specialists in their respective disciplines – dispersed geographically throughout the State. These professionals provide forensic evaluation services to the Courts with thorough, quality, and timely reports focused on the psycho-legal issue of competency to proceed on behalf of WFU.
In addition to competency to proceed evaluations, WFU provides consultation and education to local courts, agencies and legal and mental health professionals. WFU works in collaboration with other DHS institutions and related agencies, including the Mendota and Winnebago Mental Health Institutes.
Dr. Deborah Collins is the current Director of the WFU after serving as the Assistant Director for eight years. The WFU office is located in the Milwaukee County Safety Building adjacent to the Courthouse and is managed by Ms. Kathy Zane.
Click here to learn more about competency.
Procedure for Obtaining Competency Examinations
Department – the Department of Health Services (DHS).
Contract Provider – the Mental Health Provider under contract to DHS who has contractual responsibility for working with the examiners in the county ordering the competency examination to arrange the time of the examination, gather information, etc.
Wisconsin Forensic Unit (WFU) – Is the group of examiners under contract to the DHS to conduct competency examinations on behalf of the DHS.
Contracted Examiner – is a DHS approved examiner who performs competency examinations on behalf of the DHS and has signed a contract to work with the Wisconsin Forensic Unit.
Crisis Situation – Is a situation which occurs in the county jail where the defendant is being housed pending the examination by the DHS and is generally described as one in which the defendant is at high risk for harm to him/herself in the jail setting or the mental health needs of the defendant cannot reasonably be met by the staff in the jail until the examination and hearing have been held.
WSS 971.14(2)(am) specifies that if the Department is ordered by the court to conduct an examination under this section, the Department determines whether it will be conducting the examination on an outpatient or inpatient basis. The Department will normally conduct these examinations on an outpatient (outside the custody of one of the department’s Mental Health Institutes) basis unless a situation arises which in the opinion of the Department, requires conducting the examination in an inpatient setting.
The court orders an examination conducted by the Department.
DHS assumes an outpatient examination is appropriate.
The court sets a hearing date on the competency examination to occur 15 days after the examination is ordered. Place the date on the court order (CR-205). If the report is completed earlier, DHS requests that the hearing be moved up if at all possible.
Attach a copy of the Criminal Complaint and all pertinent mental health records to the court order (CR-205).
The Clerk of Circuit Courts contacts: Wisconsin Forensic Unit, Safety Building 821 W. State Street, Room 504 Milwaukee, WI 53233, 414-278-4690, FAX: 414-223-1817
The Clerk will fax the court order and criminal complaint to WFU, and also establish with WFU the location of the defendant (jail or elsewhere).
The WFU contract examiner will generate the report, fax the report to the court and to District Attorney and Defense Attorney, and follow with hard copy to the court and the Appropriate Contract Provider.
Acute Situations Where Defendant Can Not Remain in Jail:
If an acute mental health situation arises while the defendant is in the jail awaiting an outpatient competency examination, jail staff will contact local county mental health staff who work with the jail for consultation. County crisis staff will contact the WFU at (414) 278-4690, to determine when the examination is scheduled to occur. If the defendant can be managed until examination date, the defendant will remain in jail. If WFU determines that the defendant cannot be managed in the jail safely, WFU will coordinate a transfer to MMHI or WMHI on the Order for Competency Examination. (See below for contact telephone numbers at MHI’s).
Calls received in a non-emergency situation where the court prefers an inpatient examination will be referred to Deborah Collins, PhD, at (414) 278-4690.
Calls received in emergency situations where the jail staff and county mental health staff determined the individual cannot be managed in the jail safely will be handled as follows:
Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. through 4:30 p.m.
MMHI: Contact Admissions Office (608) 301-1353
WMHI: Contact Admissions Office (920) 235-4910 X2527
After 4:30 p.m./ Weekends or Holidays
MMHI: Contact the Nursing Office Supervisor at (608) 301-1386 or (608) 301-1060 and request the Supervisor be paged.
WMHI: Contact the House Supervisor (920) 235-4910 and request the Supervisor be paged.
757 N Broadway, Suite 500
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Tel: (414) 271 – 5577
821 W. State Street, Room 504
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Tel: (414) 278 – 4690