Sunday, July 17, 2016

Inmate mental health: Story that's not a scoop

The SF Weekly on the county jail's mental health crisis

For the second time in a month, a report on the state of inmate mental health in San Francisco has been released - which means for the second time in a month, we can wonder if anyone at City Hall is still paying attention to the crisis happening in the County Jail system and, in turn, on city streets. 

San Francisco officials last year wanted the city to invest in alternatives to incarceration instead of a new jail, and that includes much more robust mental health care services. But since the Board of Supervisors rejected funding for a new jail in December, not much has happened save for a concept paper released in mid-June and now a grand jury report on the mental health crisis among inmates...

The SF Weekly doesn't mention it, but the much-maligned Sheriff Mirkarimi tried to warn the city about this ongoing crisis, calling the city jails "the largest mental hospital in the city" in an interview with The San Francisco Public Press back in November, 2014.

See also "It's expensive to be poor."

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At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"much more robust mental health care services..."

Would these be provided by San Francisco?

I'm sorry but there are people walking the streets that are completely out of their minds who don't know where the hell they are who need to be institutionalized. Then there are those who are criminals and borderline crazy, lots and lots of those on the street. Both of these will not avail themselves of the the many existing clinics in the city. The former need to be brought in, but that of course can't happen on a permanent basis. The latter, well they don't consider themselves crazy, beside they enjoy their lifestyle, crime and what it can buy for them (drugs, drink and not all that much more). They are kind of like pre-adolescents who cannot or will not connect with responsibility and adulthood. They would rather challenge whomever and whatever, and are very capable of being violent should you ask them to behave.

All of my observations are from direct experience in my soma neighborhood.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Okay, but it would still be good public policy to deal with the mentally ill that end up in jail, rather than allow them to keep cycling in and out of jail with no intervention.

Your description of many of the homeless is accurate---and contrary to the standard "progressive" line, that the homeless are simply poor people who can't pay the rent.


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