San Diego Supervisors Pave Way for Laura’s Law

A law which makes it easier to coerce severely mentally ill individuals into treatment inched one step closer towards implementation in San Diego this week.

On Tuesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to direct county staff to develop a plan for the implementation of Laura’s Law. The statute, which was passed at the state level in 2002, allows for court-ordered outpatient treatment for those suffering from severe mental illness. But it applies only to counties which have decided to implement it.

Supervisor Bill Horn was the lone dissenter during Tuesday’s vote.

“We’re talking about adults here and we’re talking about their rights,” Horn added. “People have a right to choose the kind of treatment they are willing or not willing to accept.”

Supporters note that the program applies only to those with a recent history of hospitalization or incarceration, or threats or attempts of violence against themselves or others. They must be deemed likely to benefit from treatment and have a history of non-compliance.

Staff will report back to the board in 90 days. If ultimately adopted, San Diego will join several other counties in embracing the law, including Nevada, Yolo, Orange, San Francisco, Mendocino, and Los Angeles.

Read more about Tuesday’s vote here.


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