California Council on Mentally Ill Offenders
Visit COMIO's website: www.cdcr.ca.gov/COMIO/index.html
The leaders in criminal justice and mental health participating in this effort strive to end the criminalization of individuals with mental illness by supporting proven strategies that promote early intervention, access to effective treatments, a planned re-entry and the preservation of public safety.
A true shift in the paradigm between criminal justice and mental health will embody an effective jail diversion system that fosters an ongoing and successful exchange of information among courts, criminal justice agencies, mental health professionals, government and non-government organizations to achieve a substantial positive change in the way individuals with mental illness are treated in our communities.
Scott Kernan, Chair, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Manuel Jimenez, Vice Chair, Behavioral Health Director, Alameda County
Pamela Ahlin, Director, California Department of State Hospitals
Jessica Cruz, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) California
Alfred Joshua, Chief Medical Officer, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
Jennifer Kent, Director, California Department of Health Care Services
Dave Lehman, Retired Chief Probation Officer, Humboldt County
Stephen V. Manley, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge
David Meyer, Clinical Professor/Research Scholar, USC Keck School of Medicine
Lester P. Pincu, Professor Emeritus of Criminology, CSU-Fresno
Mack Jenkins, Chief Probation Officer, San Diego County Probation Department
Charles L. Walters, Retired Assistant Sheriff, Orange County
Ph: (916) 324-7021
Fax: (916) 442-2637
History and Purpose
On October 12, 2001, former Governor Gray Davis signed Senate Bill No. 1059 (Chapter 860, Statutes of 2001) (Perata) creating the Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (Council). The bill is codified as Penal Code (PC) Section 6044 which set forth a sunset date of December 31, 2006. Senate Bill 1422 signed in 2006 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated the sunset date.
The Council is comprised of eleven members. The legislation designates as permanent members the Secretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency (now the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) and the Director of the Califormia Department of State Hospitals, with the Secretary serving as the chair. The other members are appointed as follows: three by the Governor, at least one of whom shall represent mental health; two each by the Senate Rules Committee and the Speaker of the Assembly, each appointing one representative of law enforcement and one representative of mental health; one by the Attorney General; and one superior court judge appointed by the Chief Justice.
The Legislature identified several related purposes of the Council. Its primary purpose is to "investigate and promote cost-effective approaches to meeting the long-term needs of adults and juveniles with mental disorders who are likely to become offenders or who have a history of offending."
In pursuit of that goal the Council is to:
- Identify strategies for preventing adults and juveniles with mental health needs from becoming offenders.
- Identify strategies for improving the cost effectiveness of services for adults and juveniles with mental health needs who have a history of offending.
- Identify incentives to encourage state and local criminal justice, juvenile justice, and mental health programs to adopt cost effective approaches for serving adults and juveniles who are likely to offend or who have a history of offending.
The Council shall consider strategies that:
Improve service coordination among state and local mental health, criminal justice, and juvenile justice programs.
- Improve the ability of adult and juvenile offenders with mental health needs to transition successfully between corrections-based, juvenile-based, and community-based treatment programs.
- The Council is authorized to apply for funds from the "federal government or other sources to further the purpose of this article." In addition, in signing the legislation the Governor directed "the affected state agencies to identify existing funds that can be used to support this program Originally the Council was required to "file with the Legislature, not later than December 31 of each year, a report that shall provide details of the Council's activities during the preceding year. The report shall include recommendations for improving the cost-effectiveness of mental health and criminal justice programs.