Ventura County Receives $2.4M Grant to Identify, Treat Mentally Ill Offenders
The California Board of Corrections is providing Ventura County with a $2.4 million grant to "increase the treatment and supervision of mentally ill" offenders convicted of misdemeanor violations, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Mistry, Los Angeles Daily News, 5/21). The county plans to use the money to establish a team of police and local mental health workers who will "intercept mentally ill offenders and place them in customized treatment programs." Under the program, potentially eligible offenders will be identified and evaluated at the time of booking. Officials will then design a treatment schedule for participants, with the goal of preventing repeat offenses. Officials said up to 15 new positions will be established in the probation department and Behavioral Health Department to help support the program, which will serve an estimated 150 offenders with misdemeanor violations per year. Dr. David Gudeman, executive director of the Ventura County Behavioral Health Department, said the program aims to "reduce incarceration and criminal activity, particularly criminal activity that is due to untreated mental illness." Chief Deputy District Attorney Greg Totten added that the program "will enable [officials] to refer individuals out of the criminal justice system who are there because of their mental disease and don't really belong there" (Hughes, Los Angeles Times, 5/19). The grant is one of 14, totaling $47 million, awarded by the Baord of Corrections to programs statewide (Los Angeles Daily News, 5/21).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.