Los Angeles County's pilot assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) program has reaped enormous rewards for its participants – and for LA taxpayers. Now county supervisors will consider supporting the state's extension of Laura’s Law beyond its current expiration date (“Board says yes to Antonovich motion to treat mentally ill," Dec. 13).
“It is vital that this life-saving program be extended to help the mentally ill recover and live productive lives,” said Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who initiated the Los Angeles pilot of Laura’s Law, as assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) is called in California.
Antonovich said the pilot program has “successfully stabilized and reintegrated participants back into the community” and resulted in:
- a 78% reduction in incarcerations among participants,
- a 77% reduction in hospitalizations among them, and
- a reduction in taxpayer costs for incarceration and hospitalization by 40%.
In the wake of highly publicized tragedies including the police beating death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with untreated schizophrenia in Orange County, and a protracted manhunt and eventual police shooting of suspect Aaron Bassler, a man with untreated severe mental illness in Mendocino County, several California counties are actively considering implementing the 10-year-old state law.
California’s AOT law is unique because it requires each of the state's 58 counties to opt in individually. Only Nevada County has fully implemented Laura’s Law – and won state and national awards in the process. The LA pilot is the other county program in effect.
Supervisors in Los Angeles added Laura’s Law to its state legislative agenda for its Dec. 20 meeting.
For tips on advocating for expansion of Laura’s Law in Los Angeles – and passage or implementation of AOT wherever you live – see Get Involved. For sample letters to county supervisors, visit "Key Laura's Law Links" on our California page.
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