SF receives grant to help mentally ill offenders

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi announced Tuesday the acquisition by the city’s sheriff’s department of a $950,000 state grant to fund programs that would benefit low-level offenders suffering from mental illness.

The grant will help provide transitional housing and peer specialist support and is provided through California’s Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant Program, city officials said.

The program is intended to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for misdemeanor offenders with mental health service needs, according to city officials.

Sheriff Mirkarimi said:

“This grant is like a burst of rain amid a chronic drought.”

He added:

“Unlike our declining general jail population, one group of inmates not trending downward are people with serious dual diagnosed mental health and substance abuse issues. Our jails are becoming default treatment centers, requiring us to provide an array of treatment modalities so that a patient’s progress is not lost once release from custody.”

In 2014, 43 percent of inmates admitted to county jail were seen by San Francisco Jail Behavioral Health Services, according to city officials.

The MIOCR grant was secured through a partnership between the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, Department of Public Health, District Attorney’s office, Public Defender, Police Department, UCSF Citywide, San Francisco Collaborative Courts Adult Probation and the San Francisco Mental Health Association.