A new strategy of alternatives to incarcerating Californians with mental health needs has been released as part of the work to help counties develop more effective criminal justice systems.
After an 18-month review, the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission(MHSOAC) this month released “Together We Can: Reducing Criminal Justice Involvement for People with Mental Illness,” a roadmap to address this complex and growing issue in California.
The recommendations in the MHSOAC report are designed to prevent people with mental health needs from entering the criminal justice system by aligning state and county resources to develop community mental health systems. For those who are arrested, the report recommends courts and jails provide effective treatment and diversionary efforts. The report calls on state agencies to collaborate with counties on strategies to achieve these goals.
“This report represents hope, collaboration and the leveraging of opportunities to help the many Californians who are in the system inappropriately,” said MHSOAC Chair Tina Wooton. “Through strategy and coordination, we have an enormous opportunity to bring public awareness, public support and reduce the stigma of mental illness to make real transformational change."
To read more of Nadine Ono's article, please click here.