Steinberg Calls for Changes to Oversight of Prison Mental Health Panel
California Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) is pushing for the Board of State and Community Corrections to assume responsibility over a panel aimed at finding cost-effective ways to reduce the number of individuals with mental health issues who are incarcerated, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
The Council on Mentally Ill Offenders -- which was created by a state law 13 years ago -- has lacked an executive director for more than two years.
Details of Call for Oversight Change
The council currently is overseen by the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, but Steinberg suggested BSCC should oversee the panel.
Steinberg said he will suggest the change as part of upcoming state budget negotiations, adding that the move could reduce "the budget busting expense" of repeat offenders.
Reaction from State Officials
CDCR spokesperson Dana Simas said the agency does not have enough funding to pay for a new executive director and did not plan to fill the seat. However, another CDCR official later said that the department is committed to filling the position.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said there is no state funding available to hire an executive director for the panel, despite a projected surplus in the state budget (Thompson, AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.