Supervisors approve $13 million plan to reduce number of mentally ill in county jail

May is Foster Parent Recognition Month

The Contra Cost Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 14 recognized May as Foster Parent Recognition Month. Supervisors’ resolution noted there are approximately 1,100 children and youngsters in foster care in the county. At the ceremony, supervisors presented the resolution to first time foster parents Patricia and Ryan Streeter of Antioch, who became the foster parents of two-month-old Samuel. The couple are the parents of their eight-year-old biological son Josiah. The supervisors’ resolution noted the importance of Foster Parent Recognition Month in Contra Costa County for “being provided with a safe, secure and stable home environment, along with the compassion and nurturing of foster relative and non-relative families….” Photo by D. Borsuk

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved on a 4-0 vote Tuesday a $13 million multi-faceted plan that aims to detour people with mental illness who are in county jail and to relocate them in appropriate mental health facilities. Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg was absent.

Chief Assistant County Administrator Timothy Ewell told supervisors the county has grant applications pending totaling about $13 million that will help the fund the recommendations from Policy Research Associates.

Supervisors accepted 13 recommendations drafted by Policy Research Associates, a Delmar, NY-based firm that conducted a conference last January with Contra Costa mental health, medical, law, political officials and other community stakeholders in attendance.

Policy Research Associates researchers Brian Case and Regina Hueter co-authored the study “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County.”

Supervisors quickly approved the Policy Research Associates report. There were no comments from the public.

Since 2015, Contra Costa County has been involved in the nationwide Stepping Up movement designed to reduce the number of persons with mental illness in county jails. The county’s inmate population’s daily mental illness rate hovers around 15 percent. That is comparable with a national average of 17 percent.

“We have more critically mentally unhealthy people in our jails than in our hospitals. The question is how do we intercept these people?” asked Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville, who attended the Policy Research Associates conference in January.

The 13 recommendations the supervisors adopted in the “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County,” include:

  • “Establish an Uber committee and process that allows for shared leadership, responsibility, coordination, and oversight of justice system and behavioral health innovation and reform.”
  • “Establish standardized metrics and data-sharing across county agencies to improve data-informed decision-making.”
  • “Increase county-wide deflection and diversion strategies. Explore the need for a 24-hour crisis stabilization and triage center and a mental health first responder co-responder strategy.”
  • “Further incorporate the use of peers and peer support and recovery across intercepts.”
  • “Identify ‘familiar face’ high utilizer populations to help manage costs, reduce unnecessary utilization of services while increasing individual stabilization. Develop ‘higher utilizer’ strategies.”
  • “Implement a comprehensive substance use disorder strategy: Population identification & treatment resources in the jail & community.”
  • “Examine the need for pre-trial interventions to reduce failure to appear of individuals who are booked and released.”
  • “Improve and pre-and-post-arrest diversion opportunities for the incompetent to stand trial populations.”
  • “Review and address problems solving court criteria to align with national best practice
  • “Increase equity and access to services regardless of AB 109 funding.”
  • “Improve jail-based services and transition planning to reduce recidivism and improve health and other outcomes for detained or jailed individuals.”
  • “Continue to build probation Best Practices, training, and coordination to reduce technical violations and probation revocations.”
  • “Work with Center for Medicare and Medicaid services and the state of California to establish an agreement that allows parolees to access Medi-Cal and receive county services.”

Supervisors also approved the following consent calendar items:

Danville Blvd.-Orchard Court Roadway Project

Supervisors approved a $375,000 Public Works contract with Quincy Engineering Inc. for civil engineering services for the Danville Boulevard-Orchard Court Complete Streets Improvement Project to be completed by March 31, 2021. The road project includes the construction of a roundabout at Danville Boulevard and Orchard Court to reduce speeds and improve pedestrian crossing. The project also includes the restriping of the roadway and lane reconfiguration and storm drain modifications, landscaping, storm water treatment, signage, utility adjustments and changes to existing roadside features.

Emergency Driving Program

Gave the green light for the Sheriff-Coroner to sign a $165,000 contract with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to provide an emergency vehicle operations course instruction for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The course will serve 110 students at an initial cost of $1,500 per student.

Redesiginating the John Muir Medical Center as Official Trauma Center

Supervisors redesignated John Muir Medical Center as the county’s official trauma center through May 21, 2031. In approving the consent item, supervisors agreed John Muir Medical Center’s trauma center has seen its patient rate grow by 53 percent since 2011, but its trauma inpatient volume has remained relatively steady with an average of about 1,200 inpatients per year. With the supervisors’ consent action, the county will receive $350,000 a year during the duration of the agreement from John Muir Medical Center for the county to fund programs to decrease violence or prevent injuries throughout the county.

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