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State Probation Transfers To SD County Include Mentally Ill

Some of the 700 prisoners whom the state has transferred to San Diego County probation have mental illnesses. Unlike Los Angeles County, so far San Diego’s psychiatric unit has not been overwhelmed.

Inmates at California's Chino State Prison sit inside a metal cage in the hallway as they wait to be assigned permanent housing or for medical, mental health, counselor or other appointments.
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Above: Inmates at California's Chino State Prison sit inside a metal cage in the hallway as they wait to be assigned permanent housing or for medical, mental health, counselor or other appointments.

Each of the 700 newly released inmates from California prisons sent to San Diego starting late last year are screened for mental illness. San Diego County mental health director Alfredo Aguirre said the disorders run the gamut.

“Anything from a major depression which can be disabling, can keep someone from functioning in the community and getting a job or severe anxiety disorders all the way to serious mental illness which would be a bipolar manic depression or something related to schizophrenia," Aguirre said.

County officials had projected that about 20 percent of the inmates from the state’s prisons would have mental illnesses. But so far, Aguirre said only about 10 percent have been diagnosed with problems.

“We have not had the surprises or what are often referred to as dumps at your emergency department or our emergency psychiatric unit, our psych hospital," he said. "We haven’t seen it at the level that you’ve seen in other counties like L.A.”

Aguirre says those numbers could pick up as more inmates come in. Aguirre says the county anticipates that a far higher percentage – about 85 percent – of the inmates need some kind of substance abuse treatment.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | January 12, 2012 at 5:35 p.m. ― 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm a bit co fused by this whole thing.

It seems like the state of California is pulling a huge sham here based on a loophole in the court decision.

The court decision, if I'm not mistaken, said that california's prisons were too overcrowded and lacking in basic medical care.

How does simply moving the moving people around solve anything long-term when the same laws ar still on the books?

We need to repeal things like 3 strikes and stop locking people ip for petty drug crimes.

We can't afford it.

California spends more tax dollars on prisons than on higher education, a reversal from just a decade ago.

The prison industrial complex is out of control in this state (and in this country) and simply moving people around from state to county won't solve the problem.

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Avatar for user 'wdeanhardy'

wdeanhardy | January 13, 2012 at 12:39 p.m. ― 2 years, 8 months ago

The reason San Diego's psychiatric unit isn't seening the projected numbers of mentallly ill is because they are going to local jails. The jails are starting to run out of bed space. This is occuring much earlier than projected. That is the same throughout the state.

Many mentally ill citizens are incarceated within a few days of being released from state prison.

To measure AB 109's true affect on the mentally ill one must include all avenues mentallly ill travel. Measure the agregate, not parts of the issue.

For some reason San Diego has never done that. We are all part of the same community--San Diego.

Unfortunately jail has become the largest single housing facility of mentally ill in San Diego. Just like the rest of the country.

As Shakespeare said: "To thine own self be true.

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