Misdemeanors to Receive Mental Health Care
April 1, 2021
The Board of Supervisors approved a policy that those accused of misdemeanors and who have been found “incompetent to stand trial,” will receive community-based restoration treatment instead of jail-based treatment.
Sheila Keuhl, who represents LA County’s westside, including Santa Monica, says this is intended to advance the County’s “care first, jail last” approach.“As of this month, 70 misdemeanants incompetent to stand trial were in County jail,” she writes, not explaining what a “misdemeanant” is.
“Under U.S. law, individuals who are found to be mentally incompetent by a psychiatrist or a licensed psychologist and who are declared by a judge to be incapable of understanding the trial process cannot be tried or convicted. These individuals must be “restored” to competence before their case can be decided. In LA County currently, some men and women are restored to mental health in community settings, but some receive these services in jail,” she writes in a press release form her office
“Community-based restoration provides a number of treatment advantages, allowing clinicians to match the individual with the appropriate level of services and an appropriate treatment bed while offering a less restrictive environment in which they can maintain connections to family and friends,” Kuehl’s office explained.