Police Chiefs, Advocates Suggest State Allocate Some Funding From Proposition 63 to Juvenile Crime Prevention Programs
A portion of the funding voters earlier this month approved under Proposition 63, which raises the state's personal income tax by 1% on annual incomes that exceed $1 million to fund mental health services, should be used for social services programs that can reduce juvenile crime, police chiefs and crime prevention advocates said on Wednesday, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports.
Barrie Becker, state director of the not-for-profit group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, said that a "significant" portion of the funds raised by Proposition 63 should go to programs that provide housing, family counseling, substance abuse treatment and job counseling.
A Fight Crime paper on the issue cited studies indicating that 80% of juvenile offenders have mental illnesses, as well as a state Board of Corrections study on a state-funded program that provided grants to juvenile crime prevention efforts, including mental health and social services programs.
The California Police Chiefs Association endorsed the Fight Crime paper at a conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Under Proposition 63, counties are required to submit funding plans for mental health services to the state for approval.
"When we address [social service] needs there are proven reductions in juvenile crime. The idea behind this is let's take what works and improve it," Becker said. She added, "I think people have a sophisticated understanding of mental health treatment and it's not always the model of a therapist and a patient in a room" (AP/Contra Costa Times, 11/18).