Mental health expert criticizes John Cox’s plan to “force” homeless people to receive treatment

Republican John Cox said on Monday that if his campaign to become the next governor of California succeeds, he intends to use “the power of the court” to “force” the homeless to receive mental health treatment.

Legal experts on homelessness and mental health said that Cox’s comments “deviated from the real problem that led to homelessness,” and the proposal he announced in California to address this problem also had other legal and financial issues. .

The lawyer said: “This is essentially a criminal conviction under the guise of providing sympathetic services.” Ron Hawkbaum, Professor of the Homeless Advocacy Clinic at the University of the Pacific. “It is important to admit that it will never work.”

Melissa BrownThe clinical professor of law at Pacific University said that California’s existing Lanterman-Petris-Short Act Provide individuals with involuntary commitment protection.

Brown said that the current system needs to be “overhauled” to speed up the process of placing people in mental health treatment centers, and it may also require California to expand its law enforcement and judicial resources.

“I will use the power of the court to force homeless people to receive mental health treatment,” California Republican governor candidate John Cox wrote on Twitter on Monday. In the picture above, Cox speaks at a campaign rally in Miller Regional Park in Sacramento, California on May 4, 2021.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“In my opinion, his proposal requires a comprehensive reform of our existing system,” Brown said Weekly newspaper“This requires a large number of judges to hear these cases, and a large number of law enforcement officers who have received training to analyze whether someone is severely disabled.”

“I think this shows that we lack a real understanding of our current system and our current behavior and social services and mental health system,” Brown added.

Cox is running for the current governor of the state, the Democratic Party Gavin Newson, Who defeated him in 2018. Newsom is expected to face a recall election later this year.

Cox announced on Monday his plan to tackle homelessness during the Los Angeles campaign. He stood in front of an eight-foot ball with trash and was interviewed by reporters. According to Monday’s press release, the ball represents “the destruction caused by the homeless in California,” and Cox said he will carry it with him during the campaign.

There are homeless people on our streets. Many people suffer from dangerous mental illness and need treatment. however, @加文新森 Allow dangerous homeless people to rule our city streets. I will use the power of the court to force homeless people to receive mental health treatment. #CAgov #RecallNewsom

-John Cox (@BeastJohnCox) June 28, 2021

“There are homeless people on our streets,” Cox said in a tweet on Monday. “Many people suffer from dangerous mental illness and need treatment. However, @加文新森 Allow dangerous homeless people to rule our city streets. I will use the power of the court to force homeless people to receive mental health treatment. “

Monica Ramirez AlmadaThe President and CEO of Public Counsel, a public interest law firm based in Los Angeles, told Weekly newspaper Cox’s statement on forcing homeless people to receive mental health treatment “distracts the real problems that cause homelessness.”

“Our organization works closely with hundreds of individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of being homeless,” Ramirez Almada Say. “The communities we serve need more affordable housing, better tenant protection, access to legal advice in the face of eviction, and more supportive services. Only when these fundamental issues are resolved can we see this issue Meaningful progress.”

in An interview The Associated Press quoted the Associated Press on Monday as saying that Cox suggested that some homeless people in California choose to live on the streets.

California Homeless Camp
Los Angeles Police Department officials check a camp on the beach in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California, on June 16, 2021, where a homeless person lives on the Pacific coast.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Cox said: “If someone insists that they can live on the streets, they will either be arrested and put in jail, or they must be arrested and placed where they can get the treatment they need.”

Sad Bowman, A senior lawyer from the National Homeless Law Center told Weekly newspaper Cox’s comments imply that living in a public place is an option, which shows a “fundamental misunderstanding” of homelessness.

“People who live outside do not do this because they are mentally ill or addicted, although some people do suffer from mental illness and drug addiction while living outside,” Bowman said. “They live outside because they can’t afford a house-and research overwhelmingly supports this.”

Homelessness is a key issue for politicians seeking public office across the country.according to A report According to data released by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) earlier this year, California has at least 70,000 more homeless people than any other state. It is estimated that there were 161,548 California homeless in early 2020.

But California also has 12 million more residents than Texas, the second most populous state.

According to the report, the state’s homeless population increased by 6.8% between the beginning of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, while the national homeless population increased by about 2% during the same period.

Cox 24 page plan Solving the homelessness problem in California claims that his strategy will “cut homelessness by half” in the next ten years. It includes statistics from the HUD report and, in a clear attack on Newsom, said that “beautiful politicians” “refused to take cruel actions to actually solve the problem of homelessness.”

Cox’s plan proposes “putting treatment first” as an alternative to using funds to expand the capacity of shelters.

“In short, politicians see the homeless as a housing problem,” Cox’s plan points out. “But almost all ordinary Californians will tell you that this is primarily a mental health and addiction issue.”

The next step in the Cox plan is to focus on law enforcement to prevent “public camping, drug use, or fighting.” Steps three and four include prioritizing funding for treatment-prioritized methods and reducing housing costs in the state.

Cox’s plan specifically refers to Newsom’s revised budget proposal in May 2021, which proposes to spend $11.87 billion in the next two fiscal years to solve the problem of homelessness.

At least $7 billion is earmarked for the Homekey project, which uses grants to help the homeless move into hotels, apartments, and other available temporary living spaces.

“At the same time, the revised budget allocates only US$750 million for the construction of behavioral health treatment facilities,” Cox’s plan said.

Los Angeles
On February 1, 2021, a row of shelters in the Small Family Village on Chandler Street near North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California were photographed. The community consists of 39 houses and can accommodate 75 people. It aims to provide the services of the City and Valley Hope Rescue Team for the homeless.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

In another tweet on Monday, Cox said that Newsom had “failed” in resolving California’s homelessness problem.

“We need to get the homeless to receive treatment and stay away from the streets. That is @加文新森 It has failed,” Cox tweeted. “He has spent billions of dollars, but the problem will only get worse. This is not sympathy. “

Experts say that although Cox emphasized mental health treatment rather than housing in his plan Weekly newspaper Research shows that this strategy does not work.

In the statement shared with others Weekly newspaperShayla Myers, a senior lawyer at the Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation, described proposals like Cox as “extremely ineffective.”

“Throwing homeless people in jail or forcing them to receive mental health treatment is not only constitutionally suspicious, but also extremely ineffective,” Myers said. “Lack of housing can exacerbate mental health and drug abuse, and for people living on the streets, treatment is often much less effective.”

She said Cox’s plan diverted attention from the real problem.

Focusing the discussion on mandatory mental health treatment and prisons will distract the root cause of the California homelessness crisis, which is the lack of affordable housing,” she said.

A legal expert from Judge David L. Bazelon’s Mental Health Law Center told Weekly newspaper Plans like Cox’s may also create “further distrust” of mental health treatment.

“The proposal to solve the problem of homelessness by forcing individuals to receive mental health treatment did not achieve the goal,” the legal director of the Bazalon Center, Ella BurnimAnd Deputy Legal Director Jennifer Mathis (Jennifer Mathis) said in a joint statement. “Most homeless people with mental disabilities are in this situation because they have not received the services and housing assistance they need. Many, if not most, have already received involuntary treatment.”

Instead of turning to the “failed” involuntary treatment strategy described by Burnim and Mathis, they suggested providing support for the homeless.

They said: “Establishing relationships in access to housing and providing the services, finances and other assistance needed will greatly help alleviate the homelessness of people with mental disorders.” “Compulsory treatment will not solve homelessness. Problems, but it will further sow distrust and keep people away from the mental health system.”

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