County sets goals, plan to reduce mental illness in jail
–The County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors on Tuesday publicly committed to a three-year Stepping Up Strategic Plan aimed at reducing the prevalence of mental illness in the local jail.
The plan is the county’s answer to the Stepping Up Initiative’s Set, Measure, Achieve call to action. The plan focuses on four goals through the end of 2023:
- Reduce the number of people with mental illness booked in county jail
- Reduce the length of stay in jail for people with mental illness
- Increase the percentage of people connected to treatment upon release
- Reduce the rate of recidivism for people with mental illness
“County leaders are committed to making progress on this crisis locally with data-driven decisions on programs, policies, and funding,” said Lynn Compton, County Board Chair and District 4 Supervisor. “We are more focused than ever to overcoming this problem.”
The Stepping Up Initiative is a national effort to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. While the county has made progress since adopting the Stepping Up Initiative in 2017, the new Stepping Up Strategic Plan helps the county further focus its efforts. Tied to the plan’s four goals are several measurable targets that can be met by taking 16 actions over the next three years. The plan also outlines possible funding sources for each of the proposed actions. No new funding was requested when the board adopted the plan.
The Stepping Up Strategic Plan was developed by a committee of officials from the County Health Agency, Sheriff-Coroner Office, Superior Court, District Attorney’s Office, Information Technology Department, Probation Department, Public Defender’s Office, and County Administrative Office.
San Luis Obispo County was named a Stepping Up Innovator County in 2019 for leading the way in reducing the number of people in jail who have a mental illness. Ongoing efforts include diverting mentally ill defendants from jail and instead providing them with treatment and case management services; training more than 70-percent of the sheriff’s deputies in crisis intervention methods; and improving the treatment of mentally ill inmates at the jail, among other activities.
For more information and the full action plan, visit www.slocounty.ca.gov.
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