Alameda DA unveils ‘groundbreaking’ psychological well being diversion program

OAKLAND — 4 Alameda County cities will take part in a pilot diversion program geared toward preserving folks with psychological sickness who’re arrested out of the legal justice system, the county’s district lawyer introduced this month.

In a information launch, Alameda County District Lawyer Nancy O’Malley touted the “groundbreaking” 3-D Program that she mentioned will divert folks with dependancy and psychological well being points away from legal prosecution. Police in Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, and San Leandro are taking part within the pilot program with hopes to develop countywide.

“Underneath the rules of this system, when police contact an individual suspected of committing a low degree offense who’s displaying psychological well being or substance use struggles, she or he shall be provided the choice of transportation to the Group Evaluation, Referral and Engagement Companies (CARES) Navigation Middle somewhat than jail,” after being evaluated a educated clinician, the information launch says.

The DA’s workplace has additionally devoted a prosecutor to “collaborate with the therapy crew” as a part of the method. La Familia Counseling Service will assist present outpatient therapy in addition to “training and employment providers,” the information launch says.

“La Familia has been a robust associate with my workplace in our many efforts to maneuver folks away from crime addressing the underlying wants and points people have that led them into the legal justice system,” O’Malley mentioned in a written assertion as a part of the information launch.

The county’s Chief Public Defender, Brendon Woods, mentioned in an electronic mail to this information group he applauded O’Malley’s workplace for “offering different options apart from incarceration to deal with psychological sickness,” however added that he was involved that many who need assistance will nonetheless slip way of the cracks.

“An individual’s psychological well being can’t be correctly addressed when they’re locked in a cage,” Woods mentioned. “My concern with this system is that it doesn’t go far sufficient. Many people who find themselves affected psychological sickness will commit crimes that don’t qualify for this program. These are the folks in want of essentially the most assist, and they’re those who will proceed to be incarcerated and never obtain therapy.”

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