LOS ANGELES, Calif. Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted on a motion by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and Chair Janice Hahn to expand secure mental health beds and facilities to decrease the population of people with mental health needs in the jails.
The County is subject to numerous consent decrees and settlement agreements, including those regarding the treatment provided for incarcerated people with mental health needs and severe overcrowding in the county jails. They are expensive, and getting into compliance is becoming more challenging as the population becomes more complex.
Through various motions, the Board of Supervisors has committed to redressing historical wrongs deeply rooted in systemic racism and prejudice and reversing status quo responses to poverty, mental health and medical needs, and substance use dependencies.
This motion is a follow-up motion from one that Supervisor Solis and Chair Hahn put forward in September of 2022, directing the Departments of Mental Health and Health Services to provide the Board with a plan to address the astronomical increase of people with severe mental health needs who may not be eligible for open, residential facilities in the communities, but will need a secure mental health facility that is therapeutic and focused on treatment, not punishment.
“We have people entering in and out of homelessness, cycling in and out of our jails, filling our already crowded emergency departments and our jails becoming de facto mental health facilities – none of this promotes public safety or rehabilitation and recovery. To truly become a ‘care first’ County, we must expand the assets in our community to support our most vulnerable residents,” said Supervisor Solis.
With the passage of the motion, the Board is approving the plan for the Health Departments to expand the number of secure mental health beds by 500 and to continue to expand the County’s continuum of mental health care and provide humane treatment for our most vulnerable.
To read the full motion, click here.