San Diego County moved one step closer Tuesday to implementing Laura’s Law, a measure that would allow counties to request court-appointed outpatient treatment for people with severe mental illness.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors passed the plan to implement the law with a 4-1 vote.
Board Vice Chairman Dave Roberts and Supervisor Dianne Jacob are fronting the effort to implement Laura’s Law in the county.
“We need to do this…We need to take the next step to bring Laura’s Law to San Diego County,” Roberts said in a statement. “This affects so many people.”
Laura’s Law would impact those people with severe mental illness that have a history of refusing to accept treatment and who have recent history of psychiatric hospitalizations, incarcerations, or threats or attempts of serious violence toward themselves or others. Those patients would be compelled by court order to take required medications and receive treatment if they pose a danger to themselves or other.
It is similar to a voluntary program currently in place in San Diego County called the In Home Outreach Team, which allows for voluntary treatment for similar individuals.
The next step in the process is for the San Diego Health and Human Services Agency to assemble a multidisciplinary team that will develop a plan to provide the services.
The team, which will report back to the board in 90 days, will include officials from various County agencies, the Sheriff’s Department, Office of the District Attorney, Office of the Public Defender, Probation Department. The team will also be comprised of officials from outside the County government, including representatives from the Superior Court, the San Diego Police Department, and patients’ rights advocacy representatives.
Laura’s Law was passed into state law in 2002.