California’s FIST Catastrophe: Where Is Our True North?
By: Mark Gale
Criminal Justice Chair, NAMI Greater Los Angeles County
In the State of California there are currently 1700 individuals who have been found to be incompetent to stand trial (IST) for their felony charges. They are on a Department of State Hospital (DSH) waiting list so they can be sent there for treatment and “competency restoration.”
They cannot go to trial because their serious mental illness is so acute they cannot participate
in their own defense, a constitutional mandate. A recent court decision has forced the state’s
hand that mandates people must move forward from jail to treatment within 28 days. The current backlog is anywhere from 8-14 months and sometimes longer. Should our state amend
and patch a broken and dysfunctional system, or completely reimagine the role of our state
hospitals in this process, their function, and the statutes that govern them? What are our goals and what is the
mission? Where is our True North?
Please read the complete article beginning on Page 6