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Health

Marin County to increase involuntary medicine of jail inmates

Marin County plans to increase a program that enables medicines to be administered to jail inmates in opposition to their will.

Final fall, the Board of Supervisors allowed court-ordered medicines to be given to inmates who’ve been deemed incompetent to face trial — with out their consent, if mandatory. Previous to the authorization, inmates needed to stay in jail for months till a mattress grew to become accessible at a state hospital.

Involuntary medicine has been allowed because the passage of Senate Invoice 568 in 2007. When Marin supervisors gave their approval, a number of different Northern California counties — Contra Costa, Sonoma, Solano and Napa — had been already making use of the legislation.

On Tuesday, the supervisors obtained a report from Behavioral Well being and Restoration Providers, a division of the Marin County Division of Well being and Human Providers, on how the primary 12 months of implementation has gone. Michelle Funez Arteaga, a division director, briefed supervisors on plans to increase this system past inmates who’ve been judged incompetent to face trial.

Arteaga mentioned state legislation permits the county to present medicines to inmates in two further conditions. One is when a psychiatrist or psychologist has decided that the inmate is gravely disabled from a psychological dysfunction or is a hazard to self or others. The Marin County Public Defender’s Workplace represents inmates in authorized proceedings when authorities search a courtroom order for the involuntary administration of medicines.

The opposite occasion is when the inmate has been legally “conserved.” A psychological well being conservatorship offers authorized authority to 1 grownup to make sure choices for a critically mentally ailing individual. In these instances, the medicine could be given on the request of the affected person’s conservator.

“We wished to start out with the incompetent to face trial,” Arteaga mentioned. “However now that issues have been going effectively, we plan to increase to those different populations once they’re in jail.”

Arteaga mentioned that throughout the first 12 months of implementation, fewer than 10 inmates got medicines in opposition to their will. Arteaga mentioned she couldn’t give the precise quantity as a result of the Marin County Division of Well being and Human Providers has a coverage of not releasing inhabitants numbers underneath 10 in an effort to shield the anonymity of members of the group.

Supervisor Katie Rice requested Arteaga what number of further inmates are prone to be medicated involuntarily with the growth of this system.

Arteaga mentioned that of the three classes, the group deemed incompetent to face trial was the biggest.

“Whereas I don’t have an estimate for these different two populations, they are going to be even smaller,” she mentioned. “We might go a whole 12 months and never have one individual come into jail who will fall underneath the conservatorship class.”

Arteaga mentioned that because the program started, no inmate or workers member has been injured throughout the administration of medicines.

“Once we began the dialog round involuntary medicine, some individuals had been involved that it would result in accidents,” Arteaga mentioned. “We got here to see that it’s really safer.”

Arteaga mentioned the entire inmates who had been initially given medicines in opposition to their will consented inside one to a few administrations.

If inmates are deemed competent after receiving medicine, they will then stand trial or in some instances qualify for a psychological well being diversion program.

AB 1810, which was signed into legislation in July 2018, approved pre-trial diversion applications for crime suspects with sure psychological problems. To be eligible, nonetheless, inmates should have considered one of three diagnoses: schizophrenia, schizoaffective dysfunction or bipolar dysfunction.

Drugs are ordered by a licensed psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. They’re administered by a registered nurse or different licensed medical skilled with the help of jail officers.

“I’m certain it’s traumatic for the person,” Rice mentioned, “however I’m simply questioning concerning the affect on you as human beings on the workers degree.”

Arteaga mentioned, “I feel that it was extra traumatic to see individuals incarcerated and untreated for months on finish and never having any instruments to have the ability to assist them.”

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