New California Law Gives Hope to Mentally Ill Offenders
Published January 20th, 2020
The incarceration of mentally ill persons is one of the severe problems in the US. It is so prevalent in the US that the jails and state prisons are now being called “the new asylum.”
However, it is never right to prosecute someone who is not aware of what they do or are mentally unhealthy.
According to the statistics in 2014, approximately 383,000 people with severe mental illness in the US were locked up in jail.
Families of the mentally ill offenders were devastated. The US system did not prioritize the mental health of the defendants with psychological issues.
Both jail and state prisons lacked proper treatments for mentally incapacitated. Almost every inmate with mental illness was not given the appropriate treatment they needed. Some don’t have access to the medications, and some are being locked up in solitary confinement for too long, which only makes it much worse.
Not until Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill CA AB1810. The Governor gave hope to mentally ill offenders when he signed the California Assembly Bill 1810 into law last June 2018.
In the past, the accused has to plead guilty or should not contest a plea before it can enter a mental health program inside the jail. But again, treatments inside the prison are hard to come by. Offenders with mental disorders often re-offends once they release. This is because they are not aware of what they’re doing unless given proper medications.
With this law, criminal defendants who are mentally ill now have the right to request for psychiatric evaluation before they appear in court.
While most people think that criminals use this as a tactic to get off with their charges, there’s a process that helps determine whether the accused is fit to stand trial.
After the bill was passed into law, many defendants claim that they have mental defects. But, later on, found out that they are mentally fit to appear in court.
An Incompetent to Stand Trial (IST) process is usually done to the defendants who claim they have a psychiatric illness. Through this extensive procedure, the California district ensures the balance between public safety and the constitutional rights of each individual.
Once the accused is proven mentally disabled, he/she will be able to receive proper treatment in a mental health facility. Not spend its time locked up behind bars that make its condition far worse.
If you have a mentally ill loved one who is charged with a crime, the best thing you can do is seek professional help from a lawyer.
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About The Author
Franchette Agatha Jardin believes that everyone has the capacity to help those who are in need. She writes blogs about issues and news surrounding those in prison in the hopes of restoring a little extra faith in humanity.