California wrapping up report on cost-effective mental health strategies to cut jail population

The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) last week released a draft report from yearlong investigation into the intersection of people with mental health needs and the criminal justice system. Titled “Together We Can: Reducing Criminal Justice Involvement for People Living with Mental Illness,” the report outlines the Commission’s findings and proposes recommendations to ease this growing crisis.

“Jails are simply not set up or equipped for providing mental health treatment for the most part. They’re not appropriate places for severely mentally ill people,” said MHSOAC Commissioner and Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, who led the investigation. “We really wanted to try to see if we can come up with a way to put in one fairly short report, some ideas and some examples of good programs, good training, good alternatives and diversions for people who would otherwise enter the criminal justice system by highlighting some of the things that we saw.”

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