“Mental health jails” have been proposed in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties, and elsewhere. The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted to fund the sheriff’s new mental health jail, and Alameda County is in the process of building a new mental health jail at Santa Rita Jail. But in Los Angeles, an amazing thing happened earlier this year: the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted down a mental health jail.
The supervisors voted against constructing a new mental health jail to replace Men’s Central Jail, which is slated for demolition, and decided instead to funnel the funds into a new hospital facility overseen by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
Jail is simply no place for individuals suffering from serious mental illness, even if the jail has a mental health tag. The historic vote by the L.A. supervisors could be the first step in reversing a decades-long pattern of criminalizing mental illness…
To Read more of this article by Terry Allen Kupers for the San Francisco Chronicle, click here!