Laura’s Law Gets Final OK in L.A. County
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has given final approval for the full implementation of Laura’s Law, a statute allowing for court-ordered outpatient treatment for those deemed severely or dangerous mentally ill. With Tuesday’s unanimous vote, the program will be enacted countywide, having now received the green light for all necessary staffing and funding.
“Laura’s Law has proven to significantly improve the lives of program participants, reduce incarceration and homelessness, and enhance public safety,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who led the push for implementation of the program. “It provides a humane alternative to the revolving door of mental hospitals, jails and the street.”
The vote comes one decade after a successful county pilot program which saw a 78% reduction in incarcerations and a 77% reduction in hospitalizations among participants. This summer, the board approved a mental health services plan which called for full implementation.
Once it is fully operational, the program will cost an estimated $10 million, drawing from a combination of state, federal, and local resources.
“The outcome will be that people in need will be treated and returned to productive life,” according to Antonovich.
Laura’s Law was passed by the California Legislature in 2002, but applies only in those counties which have agreed to adopt it. Under the provisions of Laura’s law, an individual with a severe mental illness and a recent history of hospitalizations or violent acts or threats may be forced to undergo assisted outpatient mental health treatment by a court.
Read more about Tuesday’s vote here.