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State agency moves to seal records

By Les Zaitz

The Enterprise

A state agency determined to close off records regarding dangerous individuals such as Anthony Montwheeler has quietly used a bureaucratic move to seal documents, its executive director revealed last week.

Oregon’s Psychiatric Security Review Board in February started routinely issuing orders prohibiting disclosure of certain health records it uses to oversee individuals who assert an insanity defense to often violent crimes. The board did so by an administrative action – without notifying the public or the legislators who subsequently considered new legislation to make the health records secret.

The move is one of several state officials have undertaken recently to block public access to mental health records of the Oregon State Hospital.

They were deeply troubled by a state court ruling and an attorney general’s order that in some circumstances doctor’s notes, risk reviews, and violence assessments of state hospital patients were open . . .