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Behavioral Health Court


Last updated 12/16/2021 at 11:23am

Supervisor Jim Desmond

5th District

Far too often those suffering from behavioral health issues end up in our jails. While I believe that those violating our laws should be held accountable, without the proper assistance to manage their mental illness, the cycle of being released and ending up back in jail will continue.

A few months ago, I took a tour of the Behavioral Health Court and was inspired to see a renewed outlook on life for those who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness and are involved in the criminal justice system. Behavioral Health Court Probation offers wraparound behavioral health treatment, including assistance with housing and employment assistance. Behavioral Health Court Probation is an excellent program that provides a second chance to many who otherwise would not receive the services they need. Instead of sitting in jail, this program allows a second chance to live a very productive life.

I was so inspired by the tour that over the last few months, I’ve been working with District Attorney Summer Stephan to expand the program to help more in our county. I’m pleased to say at our last Board of Supervisors meeting, my office led the way to explore the feasibility of expanding the San Diego County Behavioral Health Court Probation. County staff will report back in 120 days with a recommendation on how we can best execute the action.

I believe that the majority of those who are experiencing homelessness struggle with substance abuse and mental health disorders. By expanding the Behavioral Health Courts, we can assist more participants. Potentially we can help end a cycle of recidivism, crimes and homelessness.


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