Worker Center Network

CLUE LA - Report Examines High Cost of Jailing Mentally Ill

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A Sheriff’s report to address jail overcrowding stated in 2008 that “[County Jail] has become the County’s de facto ‘mental institution.’” Last month, a report completed by CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) reiterated that statement and argued that holding mentally ill inmates in County Jail is not only inhumane but also more expensive than moving them to treatment facilities.

CLUE is a collection of faith communities that has focused its efforts in the past three years on the mentally ill population that circulates through the “revolving door” of courtrooms, emergency rooms, and jail cells. CLUE representative Maureen Earls and former public defender Nick Beeson argue that if the conservatively estimated 150 mentally ill people who are in custody for low-level offenses (charged with nondangerous, minor crimes like petty theft or drinking in public) were moved to facilities like El Carrillo Studios or the New Faulding Hotel, the county would save $2.9 million each year.

View the full story from The Santa Barbra Independent

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