San Diego County Reviews Proposal for ‘Mental Health Courts’
Officials in San Diego County's criminal justice system are weighing options for dealing with repeat offenders with mental illnesses, including the possibility of establishing a new "mental health court," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
County mental health officials have offered a plan that calls for "sentencing" offenders with mental illnesses to a two-year course of therapy, medication, case management and possibly housing, according to the Union-Tribune.
Alfredo Aguirre, director of the county's Mental Health Services division, said the program likely would start by enrolling 30 participants.
Each sentence would cost about $27,000, and county officials have not explained how the proposal would be funded.
Other California counties with mental health courts use money from Proposition 63 to finance the programs (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/17). The 2004 ballot measure raised the state income tax on high-income residents to fund mental health services for counties (California Healthline, 2/7).
Richard Conklin of the Sheriff's Department said that Superior Court Judge Robert Trentacosta will discuss mental health courts at a meeting on Tuesday with representatives from the:
- County mental health agency;
- County probation and sheriff's departments; and
- District attorney's and public defender's offices (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/17).