Millions of individuals suffer from mental health conditions that affect their ability to reason, think, and understand their actions. Studies show that people with mental health concerns are more likely to have encounters with law enforcement. They also have a greater chance of being incarcerated compared to the general population.
In recognizing this problem, the state of California has implemented mental health diversion programs for people accused of a crime who have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Ridley Defense founder Doug Ridley was at the forefront of implementing Ventura County’s Mental Health Diversion Program. He was tapped as the only member of the private defense bar to help shape the program.
Today, he and the entire legal team work diligently to help those afflicted by mental health conditions understand their rights and get the treatment they need. If you or a loved one was charged with a criminal offense but suffer from mental illness, contact our office for a complimentary consultation.
It is estimated that approximately 20% of the adult population in the United States experiences a mental health condition every year. According to the California & Budget Policy Center, nearly 30% of people incarcerated in state jails and prisons receive mental health treatment. Despite its prevalence, many inmates fail to receive the treatment they need.
Pre-trial diversion programs are designed to help individuals with mental health conditions stay out of jail and receive mental health treatment. It is important to note that you should always consult with a defense attorney experienced in mental health diversion programs before appearing in court.
The goal of mental health diversion is to treat the underlying condition. In order to qualify for mental health diversion, a person must have a mental disorder identified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The condition must also have played a significant role in the commission of the charged offense. Thus, by treating the underlying disorder, it is believed that it would prevent the likelihood of recidivism and related criminal behavior.
There are numerous benefits of mental health diversion to all involved parties.
Diversion can help reduce jail and prison populations since the offender consents to treatment in lieu of incarceration.
The individual receives the treatment that they need while being held accountable through the court and supervising agencies. If the program is successfully completed, the charges will be dismissed.
In addition to the individual and the courts, the community at large benefits from diversion. Diversion programs help to reduce the likelihood that an individual will re-offend.
Attorney Doug Ridley is proud to continue his work on mental health diversion, including representing individuals with mental health conditions. Mr. Ridley and the Ridley Defense team have handled thousands of cases and are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the best possible outcome.
If you have been charged with a crime in Southern California, contact our office for a confidential, complimentary consultation.