Steinberg backs mental illness grants
12/19/2013 10:43 PM
12/20/2013 6:25 AM
Democratic state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg wants California to spend $50 million on programs that try to keep mentally ill criminals from re-offending.
The proposed legislation calls for bringing back a program that existed for about 10 years in California. The “Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant” program allows counties to apply for funding to support mental health courts, substance abuse treatment, and employment training programs. Those efforts would reduce recidivism and crowding in California jails, Steinberg said, and help mentally ill people become more stable.
“We are trying to bring back something that was a great success in the late ’90s early 2000s that went away as a result of the budget cuts,” Steinberg said during a news conference Thursday, where he was backed by law enforcement and mental health care leaders.
“We do not have a specific funding stream dedicated to providing mental health services to people in jail that continue once they leave jail and get into the community... We had that before, prior to 2008. We want to reinstate that and make it part of our overall approach.”
Steinberg said lawmakers should treat California’s projected budget surplus with an approach that dedicates one-third to paying down debt, one-third to reserves and one-third to spending.
“We shouldn’t be shy about saying that there are areas of public investment that we must make, that are important,” he said.
Editor's Choice Videos
Join the Discussion
Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.