DATE: March 3, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: PubDef-MediaRelations@sfgov.org |(628)249-7946
Statement from the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office on Governor Newsom’s “Care Court” Proposal
Governor Newsom wants to have a fast solution to a very entrenched problem through his recently announced Care Court proposal. But the reality is that we already have a number of alternative courts. We don’t need another court that criminalizes mental health and poverty.
What we need is to have a fully funded mental health system. We need to have the resources in place so that community members who are experiencing mental health crises and homelessness can access supportive housing, treatment, and culturally competent case managers. As it stands, because of the drastic under-funding of our mental healthcare system, our clients are waiting for 9 weeks to 6 months in jail for treatment.
We also want people to engage long-term through providing holistic support and treatment, not force it upon them in the short-term through threatening criminalization which compounds the challenges they are facing. All community members, including people who are vulnerable and struggling with poverty, also have due process rights and civil liberties that should be respected.
We call on the Governor to revise his proposal to fully fund a holistic mental health care system, rather than this problematic band aid approach.