PNS Daily Newscast - July 19, 2019 

Chants of a different sort greet U.S. Rep. Omar upon her return home to Minnesota. Also on our Friday rundown: A new report says gunshot survivors need more outreach, support. Plus, sharing climate-change perspectives in Charlotte.

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Push for More Spending on Prisoners with Mental Illness

May 29, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California lawmakers say the shooting rampage near UC Santa Barbara is a sad reminder of the need for more money to treat prisoners with mental illness.

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg says Senate Democrats are proposing the state spend $132 million on reducing recidivism among offenders with mental illnesses.

He says these proposals, finalized earlier this month, are now cast under a different light than anyone had originally planned.

"It's a cruel, and of course, a sad coincidence that the significance of one proposal – to improve training among front-line law enforcement to recognize the warning signs of mental illness – was illustrated by a gun rampage in Santa Barbara County,” Steinberg says.

Under the proposals, $50 million would be used to re-establish a grant program for counties offering substance abuse treatment, job training or other programs to help offenders after they're released from prison.

Steinberg says the number people with mental illnesses who are incarcerated has skyrocketed to the point that nearly half of all California inmates have been treated for mental illness within the past year.

"While there is a lot of focus on the shock and sadness and the search for answers, it is important that we remain mindful that one in every four Americans will suffer a form a mental illness during their lifetimes," he says.

The policy and budget proposals are based on a new study conducted by Stanford Law School's Three Strikes Project, which finds that modest yet significant policy changes can help to improve the enormous human and fiscal cost of warehousing the people with mental illnesses in California prisons.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA