Today, LA County held a BOS meeting announcing the full RAND Report. This report by the RAND Corporation unveiled, based on a variety of clinical and legal factors, that a vast majority of people with mental illness inside LA County jails could and should be diverted. Researchers for the study estimated that about 61% of the individuals in the jail mental health population were appropriate candidates for diversion, 7% were potentially appropriate for diversion and 32% were not appropriate for diversion.
“Today’s report by the RAND Corporation says what we’ve been saying all along, the vast majority of people with mental illness inside LA County jails could and should be diverted. 61% equals over 3,300 extremely vulnerable human beings currently held in cages unnecessarily. While it’s important to collect and utilize data, we’ve been saying this for over a decade and LA’s political leadership has been slow to act. Action on this is urgent. Measure R, our March 3rd ballot measure to Reform LA County Jails will require the County to develop a Feasibility Plan for the reduction of people with mental illness in the jails within 7 months. It is urgent that the people of Los Angeles County Vote Yes on Measure R to ensure our county government provides compassionate, humane and decentralized treatment for those currently suffering from inadequate mental health care in Los Angeles County Jails.” – Statement from Patrisse Cullors, Yes on R
L.A. County’s jail is the biggest in the country and has a history of over-incarcerating people with mental illness and providing substandard mental healthcare inside the jails. Thousands of people who struggle with homelessness, mental illness, or drug dependency are locked up in LA County every single day. The Reform L.A. Jails initiative will be on the California presidential primary March 3, 2020 ballot as a response to the systemic corruption and structural oppression that has shaped the lives of black and brown residents, the homeless, and people who struggle with mental illness or disability in Los Angeles County.
If Yes on R is successful, the measure requires L.A. County to invest in rehabilitation and mental health treatment, grant the Civilian Oversight Commission (COC) with subpoena power to effectively and independently investigate misconduct. The COC will then be mandated to develop a plan to reduce jail populations and L.A. County will be mandated to redirect all cost savings from reduced incarceration to public priorities, such as drug treatment, housing, and mental health care.
Yes on R will end the cycle of corruption and misconduct that has plagued L.A. County for over a decade, invest in rehabilitation and mental health and save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year by ensuring people no longer sit in jail just because they can’t afford bail.
For more information on the ballot and how you can vote, visit voteyesonr.org.
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