Expanded Mental Health Services Could Reduce Crime
San Joaquin County's Behavioral Health Services has drafted 12 program proposals that would be funded through Proposition 63, including some that address mental health issues of residents at risk for criminal behavior, the Stockton Record reports. Proposition 63 was approved by voters in 2004 and places a 1% tax on Californians earning more than $1 million annually to fund mental health services.
San Joaquin County receives $5.6 million per year under the law.
According to county officials, all 61 homicides committed in the county in 2005 likely were associated with some type of mental health problem. Some mental health experts believe that by expanding outreach and education programs in the community, criminal behavior among the mentally ill can be reduced.
Earlier treatment of mental illnesses also could lead to fewer emergency department visits, hospitalizations and incarcerations, according to the Record (Sheil , Stockton Record, 3/21).
Two news papers recently published articles addressing the relationship between mental illness and violence. Headlines appear below.
- "Mentally Ill Are More Likely to Be the Victims of Violence" (Welton, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 3/19).
- "High Homicide Rate Points to Mental-Health Issues" (Sheil , Stockton Record, 3/21).