Wednesday, October 05, 2005

"Discharge planning" gone awry

We’ve often stressed the need for discharge planning to ease the transition of people with severe mental illnesses from incarceration to the community. Finding case managers, making appointments with treatment providers, locating housing placements, providing an appropriate supply of medication, and ensuring eligibility for benefits are only some of the steps that can be taken to make sure a person with a serious psychiatric disorder will get treatment and stability rather than a quick return to the jailhouse door.

Byron Harris’ release plan was a bit different - a long drive and a quick dump onto Los Angeles’ skid row. The deputies releasing Harris may not have prevented - indeed, they almost guaranteed - his return to jail, but at least they minimized the chance that it would be to theirs.

"Dumping of homeless suspected downtown"
Los Angeles Times, September 23, 2005

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