Los Angeles Residents Advocate for Mental Health Diversion, Not Jail Expansion

MEDIA ADVISORY – July 14th, 2014

Contact: Diana Zuniga of Californians United for a Responsible Budget at  213-864-8931 or diana@curbprisonspending.org

What: LA County Board of Supervisors, S-2 report by District Attorney on assessment of mental health diversion programs.

When: Tuesday, July 15th.  Meeting begins at 9:30am, report by DA at 11:30am

Where: Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 West Temple St. LA

Los Angeles: Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting will focus on the 60-day progress report submitted by District Attorney Jackie Lacy, outlining steps that have been taken to assess mental health diversion programs in Los Angeles County. Community members, and services providers will be in attendance at the meeting to support efforts to divert people with mental illness away from the County jail. According to District Attorney there are approximately 3,000 people in LA jails with mental illness “essentially turning the jail into a psychiatric ward”.

Advocates from Californians United for a Responsible Budget and the LA No More Jails coalition will be in attendance to push Supervisors to take further action to support a Comprehensive Diversion Plan for Los Angeles County by investing a minimum of 30-50% of the counties realignment budget into community programs. Los Angeles County has received over $1 billion in realignment (AB109) funding since October 2011 and over 80% has been allocated to the Sheriff’s Department.

The GAINS Center—(G)athering information; (A)ssessing what works: Interpreting the facts; (N)etworking; (S)timulation change—has been employed to act as a consultant and work with county stakeholders to implement mental health diversion as quickly as possible. Further evaluation and recommendations for next steps were to be developed at smaller local meetings with stakeholders that took place on July 8 & 9. This plan to implement a mental health diversion program is one step towards Mark Ridley Thomas’ proposal to develop a Comprehensive Diversion Plan for Los Angeles County that would include treatment, promote rehabilitation and reduce recidivism.

See full DA report here.

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