At the urging of District Attorney Jackie Lacey and others lobbying to keep mentally ill people from being locked up in county jails, Los Angeles County supervisors voted Wednesday to fund several programs for people undergoing psychiatric crises, reports the Los Angeles Times. The supervisors voted to use $40.9 million in state funding to open three 24-hour psychiatric urgent care centers, which police can use as an alternative to overcrowded emergency rooms or jail.
The money would also help pay for an estimated 560 new residential treatment beds and to create 14 new crisis response teams that send mental health workers — sometimes in conjunction with law enforcement — to respond to incidents involving people believed to be mentally ill. The total cost of the new programs will be an estimated $109.4 million, to be paid for by the new grant money and other state funding programs. A recent report commissioned by the district attorney called for more crisis response teams and drop-off centers to deal with the mentally ill.