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Most Mentally Ill Defendants Not Diverted To Treatment In San Diego County

The San Diego Central Jail on Front Street, August 7, 2018.

Photo by Claire Trageser

Above: The San Diego Central Jail on Front Street, August 7, 2018.

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Mentally ill defendants convicted of non-violent offenses are seldom diverted into treatment in San Diego County, as a new state law allows.

Aired: August 1, 2019 | Transcript

One year ago, the California Legislature passed a law allowing mentally ill defendants facing criminal charges to be diverted into treatment, rather than jail.

In San Diego County, just 20 of the 80 defendants who have requested diversion have been granted that option. The San Diego County District Attorney's office has opposed nearly every request for diversion, according to a story in The San Diego Union-Tribune by reporter Greg Moran.

RELATED: DA On Improving County’s Approach To Helping Those With Mental Illness

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan has announced her own plan to deal with mentally ill defendants. The Blueprint for Mental Health Reform, announced in May of this year, calls for a working group of prosecutors, law enforcement and health care professionals to create diversion programs that "...protect our victims and communities, while providing equal and fair access to diversion for those charged with crimes.”

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