Reforming the Jail System

Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Reforming the Jail System


Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

“Today, the Board of Supervisors helped ensure that Men’s Central Jail – an inhumane environment – would be torn down. We rejected a jail for those with mental illness and instead committed to looking into providing mental health treatment through a decentralized continuum of care.  Finally, we invested in a plan to scale up diversion, and commissioned multiple studies to better understand and serve those in our care.

“The work is complex – the nine motions today on these topics underscore this — and must be viewed in the larger and continuously evolving context of criminal justice reform. But there is clearly an ongoing paradigm shift towards treatment and rehabilitation for individuals with mental illness who are caught up in the jail system.

“I am encouraged by the progress we have already made in the County, including diverting nearly 3,000 individuals from jails to treatment and other services, and building innovative psychiatric urgent care centers in our communities. It is time to expand upon these solutions, and today was an important step in that direction.”