Assisted Outpatient Treatment Is...
Fred Martin's op-ed in the San Franciso Chronicle (3/22/2010), San Franciso chooses jail over treatment, is right on.
"An explosion of research shows mentally ill persons treated early often go on to full recovery, gain employment, respond to treatment and live productively. Yet in San Francisco, more mentally ill are in jail than in hospitals, despite a blunt conclusion by Deputy Public Defender Jennifer Johnson: "Treatment is more efficient and cheaper than incarceration.""
Assisted outpatient treatment (Laura's Law) is one way the State of California could choose treatment over jail. Assisted outpatient treatment is:
- Court-ordered treatment for individuals who have a history of medication noncompliance, as a condition of remaining in the community.
- Being implemented in Nevada County and a small pilot program in Los Angeles County.
- A treatment mechanism that is used until a person is well enough to maintain his or her own treatment regime.
- A less restrictive - less costly alternative to inpatient hospilization.
- Effective at reducing negative outcomes including incarceration and arrests.
- Is available in California where the Board of Supervisors has made the decision to adopt it.