Synopsis of “Mental Health Diversion” in California

February 16, 2023

Mental health diversion is a legal process that allows individuals with mental health disorders to be diverted away from the criminal justice system and into treatment and support services. In California, mental health diversion programs have been implemented in an effort to address the high rates of individuals with mental health disorders in the criminal justice system. This article will provide a synopsis of the mental health diversion process in California, including the eligibility criteria, the legal process, and the outcomes for individuals who participate in the program.

In California, mental health diversion is available for individuals who have been charged with a criminal offense and who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. This can include disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others. To be eligible for mental health diversion, an individual must have their mental health disorder as a significant factor in their behavior and must be willing to participate in treatment and support services.

Once an individual is accepted into the mental health diversion program, they will be placed on a diversion track, which typically includes a combination of treatment and support services, such as therapy, medication management, and case management. The length and intensity of the diversion track will vary based on the individual’s needs and the specific requirements of the program.

One of the key outcomes of mental health diversion in California is that it allows individuals to receive the treatment and support they need to address their mental health disorder, rather than simply punishing them for their criminal behavior. This can lead to improved mental health outcomes for individuals, as well as a reduction in recidivism rates and a decrease in the number of individuals with mental health disorders in the criminal justice system.

Additionally, mental health diversion can also have positive financial outcomes, as it is often more cost-effective than traditional criminal justice measures, such as incarceration. According to a study by the California Department of Health Care Services, mental health diversion can save up to $2,100 per individual per year compared to traditional criminal justice measures.

Mental health diversion is not a panacea for all criminal cases involving individuals with mental health disorders and not all individuals with mental health disorders will be eligible for the program. Furthermore, it’s important to acknowledge that some individuals may need a harsher punishment. For example, those who have committed violent crimes or have a long criminal history may not be suitable for mental health diversion programs.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Southern California, then contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers today. Call us to schedule a free confidential consultation with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

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