LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A law that allows court-ordered outpatient treatment for the severely mentally ill should be extended past its Jan. 1, 2013 expiration, Supervisor Mike Antonovich said Tuesday.
Antonovich asked his colleagues to include an extension AB 1421, known as Laura’s Law, in its legislative agenda for next year.READ MORE: Deadly Hit-And-Run At Long Beach Apartment Complex Destroys Security Station, Killing Security Guard
Los Angeles County is one of only two counties to initiate outpatient programs under the law adopted in 2002.
“It is vital that this life-saving program be extended to help the mentally ill recover and live productive lives,” Antonovich said.
Antonovich said that the county’s pilot program, which he initiated, has successfully stabilized and reintegrated participants back into the community with a 78 percent reduction in jail time and a 77 percent reduction in
hospitalizations, cutting county costs.
Antonovich cited data showing other benefits to participants, including dramatic reductions in homelessness, substance abuse and suicides.
Laura’s Law was prompted by the shooting death of 19-year-old Laura Wilcox, a Haverford College sophomore, who was working at a Nevada City public mental health clinic over winter break in January 2001 when Scott Harlan
Thorpe, 41, walked in and started shooting.
Thorpe killed Wilcox and another woman there and later shot and killed a man at a nearby restaurant where Thorpe believed the cook was trying to poison him. Thorpe’s family testified at trial that they had tried for years to get him consistent mental health treatment.MORE NEWS: Activists Protesting LA County Sheriff's Department Briefly Stopped Traffic, No Arrests Were Made
The board is scheduled to consider all of the items on the proposed legislative agenda, including Laura’s Law, next Tuesday.