Larry Lees: Mental health a big issue for the community. It's the root to a lot of problems in the county, including the homeless problem.
Lees: I was recently asked as CEO what is the one thing I'd like to do that I haven't, that is mental health. That is absolutely the root to many of the problems we're having. Including homeless problem.
Lees: When you talk about the ERs in the county, talk about the numbers of people coming in there, for the most part are there because of lack of services for mental health and substance abuse. The problem compounds itself when you have someone who really needs medication, not getting it and then take other drugs.
Lees: When you think about the time the police and sheriff take with taking those kind of issues, it's 65 percent of the time. A jail is not an appropriate place for people to get mental health services.
Lees: I was encouraged when Mayor McArthur talked about the sobering center.
Lees; We have detox beds in county now, so I don't know why they're not being used. We plan to roll something out in 6 weeks.
Lees:We're calling it the resource center.
Lees: It's a place where an officer can drop off someone suffering from some type of behavioral health issue.
Lees: They would not be suffering from medical condition. It's a place an officer can drop someone off without taking them to jail. Would have 10-15 beds. there would be nurses, counselors there.
Lees: It is not going to solve the problem, but it's a start.
Larry Lees: We plan on rolling out a resource center in next 6 weeks in Shasta County where anyone can drop off someone who may be suffering from a mental health issue. Ten to 15 beds to be available with counselors and nurses who can stabilize them without taking them to hospital or jail first. Said it's a start.
Lees: Sobering center is a little different, it's for all substance abuse.
Lees: This center meets one more step. We're not done yet, and I don't want to paint picture that it will solve our problem.
Lees: Redding police chief Paoletti supports this center. If they committed a crime, they will still need to go to jail. If they need medical help, they will go to hospital.
Lees: This is step on. Sobering center is a necessity too.
Lees: We need to ensure it's for people suffering from mental health issues.
Lees: We have to wait until the state blesses our program. That's expected to happen in January.
Larry Lees: Resource center is the Wellness Center, which the county recently approved.
Lees: This is coming from Prop. 63 funds, for mental health services. It's a new pot of money. If it's successful, then we can grow it.
Lees: And wouldn't it be great to have the sobering center next to it. It would be like the Restoration Center in Texas, where people can get numerous service in one place.
Lees: The Wellness Center will be a pilot program. In year 2-3, funding can go away.
Lees: You hope that by year 2-3 it starts paying for itself. It should work out.
Lees: We may look for other organizations to operate it after the pilot period is over.
QUESTION: That 65 percent to 70 percent you mentioned regarding the reduction in law enforcement response...
Lees: What we have found is that 65-70 percent police calls are in some way related to substance abuse. Whether it's stealing to get money for drugs, or using drugs. Much of our criminal activity is tied to substance abuse.
Larry Lees: 65-70 percent of law enforcement calls related to substance abuse.
Lees: We can talk about recidivism rate. All these things go back to substance abuse and mental health. If you don't fix root issue, then recidivism rate doesn't go down.
Lees; Out if 1,000 people let out of prison, some 750 will be back in prison within 3 years.
Lees: We're really measuring reporting from Day Reporting Center. We've had 41 graduations before last week, and last week we had 18 more.
Lees: Interesting part is we've been following the 41 who graduated over past two years. Not everyone will be able to maintain the new behavior. Out of 41, we've had 4 have recidivism.
Larry Lees: Day Reporting Center has had 59 graduates. Followed the 49 who have graduated in last two years. So far, out of 41, four made poor choices and are back in the prison system.
Lees: That's a recidivism rate of 10 percent. That's lower than the state average of 40 percent.
Lees: I think that rate will be higher as we go on. People will slip. May go up to 20 percent, but I hope not.
Lees: But out of 100 people, if only 25 have recidivism, then that's quite an improvement and we've made a significant dent.
Lees: It doesn't ha
ve to be a large reduction in recidivism to be successful, in terms of cost, jail costs, and costs to family.
Larry Lees: If we can continue with something like Day Reporting Center in which people are coming out of prison and we can knock recidivism, makes a huge impact on the community and their lives.
Lees: If we can continue with something like the Day Reporting Center and we can knock down their recidivism by half, that's a huge impact on the community and their families' lives.