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CA Gov. Newsom Proposes ‘CARE Court,’ Allowing Judges to Order Homeless into Mental Health Programs

CA Gov. Newsom Proposes ‘CARE Court,’ Allowing Judges to Order Homeless into Mental Health Programs

Newsom: “We could hold hands, have a candlelight vigil, talk about the way the world should be, or we could take some damn responsibility to implement our ideas and that’s what we’re doing differently here.”

I have frequently reported on the homeless crisis in California, much of which is driven by mentally ill and/or drug-addicted individuals who cannot or will not adhere to crisis shelter rules.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is now proposing a new system that could place some people with severe mental illness or substance use disorders under court-ordered care, calling it Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court. It’s a move that suggests that polls are so bad for Democrats that they must address issues of fundamental importance to their constituents.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference that he has no intention of rounding people up and locking them away. Instead, he said his plan would offer a way for people to get court-ordered psychiatric treatment, medication and housing, preferably before they are arrested.

Under the plan, which requires approval by the Legislature, all counties would have to set up a mental health branch in civil court and provide comprehensive and community-based treatment to those suffering from debilitating psychosis. People need not be homeless to be evaluated by a court.

But if approved, they would be obligated to accept the care or risk criminal charges, if those are pending, and if not, they would be subject to being held in psychiatric programs involuntarily or lengthier conservatorships in which the court appoints a person to make health decisions for someone who cannot.

“There’s no compassion stepping over people in the streets and sidewalks,” Newsom told reporters at a briefing at a mental health treatment facility in San Jose. “We could hold hands, have a candlelight vigil, talk about the way the world should be, or we could take some damn responsibility to implement our ideas and that’s what we’re doing differently here.”

Newsom sounds like he may have taken a red pill, even though it may be a low dose version. I strongly suspect the slayings in the elite enclaves in the Los Angeles area have inspired this shift. When liberal Democrats start funding the ouster of a super-progressive district attorney, a clear message about priorities has been sent.

Newsom’s proposal is awaiting approval by the California Legislature. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria chimed in his support.

It’s time we face the painful, but obvious truth: our behavioral health system in California is broken. All of us see it every day on our streets — and it’s long past time we fix it,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria in response to Newsom’s plan.

“Governor Newsom’s CARE Court…will provide individuals who are struggling with behavioral health issues a pathway to the housing and health services they need and give those who encounter these individuals a real way to get them the help they need.”

How much would the program cost? That part still has not been determined.

That’s also unknown. But the new program would probably require a blend of existing and new funding, and what Newsom described as “unprecedented investments” in setting up the necessary clinical infrastructure and workforce.

Billions are already on the table from recent investments for mental and behavioral health services, along with supportive housing. But new dollars would be needed to support the courts’ implementation of the programs and to finance the public defenders and so-called supporters who would accompany a court-ordered treatment plan.

The administration said it still needs to work with the Legislature and Judicial Council to crunch the numbers and determine how much this new plan would cost.

However, “homeless advocates” have complaints.

…[A] advocates like attorney and organizer Ricci Sergienko said that this program will only further criminalize the unhoused.

“There’s also a level of criminalization with the Governor’s plan,” he said. Just like his other solutions, it seems like he wants to reinvest in the carceral state an in punitive solutions.”

Supporters like Bales said that measures like these are desperately needed.

We’ll see if it even passes through the Legislature. Meanwhile, somewhere in San Diego:


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Blind pig finds a few acorns, good start. I foresee a big Problem in that this will be routed through Community Mental health Clinics. Those agencies focus on dollars from billable hours via their contracts, not client care. This is better than nothing, but the way it’s going to be implemented is likely severely limited in its effectiveness due to the way they focus on squeezing every drop out of their staff and clients.

“court-ordered psychiatric treatment, medication and housing, preferably before they are arrested.”

The hell? You think the recipients are just going to wander into court on their own? This will almost entirely be based upon law enforcement referrals, just like Drug Diversion programs are.

2smartforlibs | March 8, 2022 at 3:19 pm

I thought a person’s mental status was beyond the pale.

What’s old is new again. Back in the 1950s – 1970s oodles upon oodles of mental health hospitals were closed – yet another example of loony lefty thinking – on compassion. This hare-brained idea of deinstitutionalization of psychiatric patients has lead to the mess today.

The left has NEVER had a good idea. Always wrong but never in doubt.

Antifundamentalist | March 8, 2022 at 3:27 pm

So. Get kicked out of a shelter, or pee on the sidewalk, and you subject yourself to the possibility of losing the legal rights to self autonomy. Good incentive to behave…..but there is a lot of potential for abuse down the road.

If memory serves, in the late 80’s or 90’s, the court’s sprinted from a libertarian approach on public policy to a libertine ruling on public policies. Courts seemed determined to eradicate vagrancy laws, indecency laws, nuisance laws, and foist the mentally ill out of care facilities, and into the public domain (under bridges, park benches, etc.) because civil liberties, and muh autonomy.

Apparently, 30 years on, this harvest of human tragedy is even too much NIMBY for the wokesters to stomach. Kalifornication politicos can’t gas light ’em anymore with their rendition of Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ failure theater, and must song n dance harder or lose 2022.

*Leftism is a mental disease*

A democrat wants to lock people up for alleged mental illness. Sounds perfectly reasonable. Absolutely no possibility of abuse there!

surfcitylawyer | March 8, 2022 at 3:55 pm

California already has the LPS act (Welfare & Institutions Code §5150 et seq.) for individuals “who are a danger to themselves and others and cannot provide for their food, clothing & shelter.” That covers most of the people on the streets. There are some who by bad luck or choices are on the streets and some who live out of state, came to California for vacation, but cannot afford a hotel room here.

Hmmm, are we going back to the ’70s? Wasn’t it the progs who shut down our mental healthcare institutions, causing this flood of homeless mentally ill people in the first place?

I guess it’s good that he’s coming around to reality. But it would be better if he would realize he’s a stupid fucking prog and has no business in a leadership position in the first place.

    Martin in reply to Paul. | March 9, 2022 at 9:09 am

    Yes it was the progs that did it although if you ask them now it was Ronald Reagan. If one of their brilliant ideas doesn’t create the utopia they predict then someone else made it not work or even it was someone else’s action in the first place.
    Bad results are never their fault.

So the government there, from the state down to the city can weaken their criminal justice system to the point it’s a joke to criminals and effectively invite the homeless, drug addicted, and mentally ill to come camp out in their streets. Then, when the predicted increase in crime occurs, their solution is to set up even more courts to exert more control over people’s lives.

Their solution to problems resulting from their own failed policies is always more government.

So now Newsom is a big conservative/traditionalist.

Until he screws everything up all over again.

If this the voluntary vagrants into effective drug rehab, alcohol rehab and provides effective mental health services then that frees up the rest of CA govt to focus on the small percentage of long-term homeless.

The decades long acceptance by govt as a whole of a drug addled, alcohol fueled, class of career criminals with untreated mental illness allowed to behave as they wish and sleep where they choose needs to end.

Programs? I’ll give you a [program for these sociopathic lunatics. A padded room for a month to dry out, then a year of hard labor building trails and planting trees in a wilderness area 50 miles from the nearest highway. See how they look after a year of real work with hot dinner the only reward…and some uplifting movies. If they escape, hopefully they will die and the body never found.
We can pretend they were at the January 6 capital rally.

Beta test for a future program to order troublesome political critics into mental health facilities.

Don’t trust them. Men who believe that they are women so strongly that they are willing to have their willy lopped off? That’s normal.
Being a gun owner? Question the results of the last election? Don’t think that a dude in a dress should be teaching third graders how to masturbate? A belief in any of those things makes you insane.

We have set up “CARE camps” where you can be shown where you went wrong and can learn how damaging those opinions are.

Didn’t. Bruce Jenner have his wee wee cut off?

A broken clock is right twice a day, that said is this rhetoric or are there judicial nominees listed for the moment this is passed into law, real legislation with the accompanying behind the scenes moves to actually get it passed into law…..

While he is right about the issue I could have said the same thing is he actually doing what he proposed or just making noise?

Hmm. Were not a lot of these homeless out there because they decided that such people should NOT be institutionalized? Didn’t take them but a few years to figure out how stupid that call was. F*cking communists…

    Martin in reply to Ironclaw. | March 9, 2022 at 9:16 am

    That was the reason they gave along with the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest idea that mental hospitals were just abusing everyone and they were just merry eccentrics anyway.
    The rank and file may have believed those reasons but I thing it was really just a Cloward Piven overwhelm the system move.

Wishful thinking; No teeth. The Warden thinks if you give it a snappy name, that’s the same as doing it.

This is typical of the liberal left. Instead of thinking through long-term issues, it’s always the fight right in front of their nose! WAY back in the mid & late ’70’s, I was in college & was in “discussions” about the “freedom” and “rights” of people with mental issues. Anyone remember County Farms? Anyone remember State Hospitals? Yeah, there were a lot of issues with these institutions (after all, they were “government operated”), but most people (the 80-20 rule) were taken care of & safe in these places (my grandfather operated a County Home in Illinois). Now, instead of improving the care & situations in these institutions, the likes of the weakness of Ford & the Peanut Farmer liberal, the feds outlawed all of these places. AND made it against the law for mandatory medications! So, now what happened? Yup, this is our “homeless issue”, this is mental issues living under bridges, in tents on sidewalks, defecating & trashing all over.
Now, the illustrious governor of CA wants to go back to controlling the issues through mandatory intervention!
WOW, even Newsome can think a bit on the “conservative” side….

They claimed crazy people had rights to be crazy and closed down the institutions putting the back into a society where they could not cope. Now they are going to make them official out patients. It is just a giant money scam

Newsome’s idea could work if administered by an ethical organization.
In California, that being impossible, it would guarantee monstrous abuse
for political and monetary ends. It would become another source for dishonest operatives to expand their theft.