Community Forum: Keeping People With Mental Illness Out of Jail
Wednesday, March 15--noon to 2 pm
Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Library
The number of people with mental illness in U.S. jails has reached crisis levels. The League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Public Library are co-hosting a forum to discuss this crisis.
Panelists are: Suzanne Grimmesey of the Behavioral Wellness Department; Lt. Rob Plastino of the Sheriff's Office; Kelly Scott of the District Attorney's Office; Tracy Macuga and Deedra Edgar of the Public Defender's Office; Lynne Gibbs of NAMI; AnnMarie Cameron of the Mental Wellness Center; Suzanne Riordan of Families ACT; Maureen Earls of CLUE; and Debbie McCoy, who will share her personal experience.
In counties across the nation, jails now have more people with mental illnesses than in their psychiatric hospitals. Almost three-quarters of these adults have drug and alcohol use problems. Community members with mental illnesses continue to cycle through the criminal justice system with tragic outcomes for themselves and their families, missed opportunities for connections to treatment, inefficient use of funding, and a failure to improve public safety.
These obstacles to change in Santa Barbara County have prompted the County Supervisors to commit to positive plans.
Participants are welcome to bring their lunch. The entrance to the nearest parking garage is on Anacapa, adjacent to the Library. Handicapped access is at the Anapamu entrance (park in the Granada Garage across from the Library on Anapamu St.).