Top OC Prosecutor Calls for Treatment Instead of Jail for Drug Use and Mental IllnessVoice of OC


District Lawyer Todd Spitzer, who oversees the overwhelming majority of felony prosecutions in Orange County, is publicly calling on his colleagues to overtake how they cope with drug use and psychological sickness – providing therapy as an alternative of jail and felony expenses.

Spitzer particularly argues folks arrested for drug use or psychological sickness ought to have the choice of therapy as an alternative of jail.

In an interview Friday, the DA informed Voice of OC he needs to begin with circumstances the place individuals are beneath the affect of medication – which he estimated at as much as 1000’s of circumstances a 12 months – although the timeline is unclear.

“I don’t consider that we needs to be sending mentally ailing folks to jail. We needs to be, instantly upon arrest, evaluating them and triaging them and placing them into applications,” Spitzer mentioned in a radio interview earlier that day on NPR affiliate KPCC.

“Those that are hooked on medicine shouldn’t be spending time in jail – the place they’re not getting any assist, and their situation solely turns into worse, they usually change into a convict. After which their probabilities of social rehabilitation and duty are diminished. So we’re not investing on the entrance finish,” he added.

In a comply with up interview with Voice of OC that day, Spitzer mentioned he needs to begin by providing therapy on the county’s new Be Properly psychological well being campus as an alternative choice to submitting expenses and jail time – so long as folks follow this system.

“I’d actually wish to combine Be Properly and take people who’re beneath the affect and begin agreeing to not file felony expenses if they comply with go in and full therapy,” Spitzer mentioned.

“I would like them off medicine. I would like them turning their lives round and being productive. That might be an enormous change in our county,” he added.

His name for an overhaul is producing a welcome response from advocates, although they are saying it must be backed up with precise motion – which they are saying there’s no indicators of but.

“We’re thrilled to listen to the District Lawyer’s workplace agrees that individuals with disabilities want entry to medical companies, not jail,” mentioned Brooke Weitzman, a number one legal professional who represents most of the poorest OC residents prosecuted for drug use and psychological sickness.

“As Todd Spitzer and Sheriff Barnes have lately prompt, police and jails should not applicable responses to medical wants,” she added.

“We sit up for seeing these elected leaders again their phrases with their actions and help group requests to cease the development of the psychological well being jail in Irvine, promote the brand new system of care by means of Be Properly, and direct funding to housing and medical response groups.”


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