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Laura’s Law (AB1421)

Urge your District Supervisor to Support Laura’s Law

As relatives and friends of those living with mental illness, we have the opportunity to influence the success or failure in Marin of a law designed to offer community-based assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) to a small population of individuals who meet strict legal criteria and who–as a result of their mental illness – are unable to access community mental health services voluntarily.

AB1421, better known as Laura’s Law, was passed in California in 2002 and has not yet been implemented in our county. Many of us feel that this is a tragedy. At least 43 other states have laws similar to this one. It is our supervisors who have the final say on this matter. They need to hear from us. Please write, e-mail or visit your supervisor and ask him/her for support in implementing this law in our county.

Laura’s Law allows courts–after extensive due process, to order a small subset of people with serious mental illness who meet narrowly defined criteria to accept treatment as a condition of living in the community. It also allows courts to order the recalcitrant mental health system to provide treatment. Counties have the option to implement Laura’s Law and most have not. By failing to use Laura’s Law, county mental health directors transfer the seriously ill to jails, prisons, shelters and morgues. Nevada County implemented Laura’s Law and found:

  • Hospitalization was reduced 46%;
  • Incarceration reduced 65%;
  • Homelessness reduced 61%;
  • Emergency Contacts reduced 44%;
  • Saved of $1.81-$2.52 for every dollar spent as result of reducing incarceration, arrest, and hospitalization.

For a compilation of everything you need to know about Assisted Outpatient Treatment (Laura’s Law) in California go to: www.mentalillnesspolicy.org/states/lauraslawindex.html

The following is a sample letter that can be modified to send to your Supervisor regarding Laura’s Law. Each of these paragraphs can be switched in order or wording. The underlined sections offer some wording options so you can personalize with your own choices.

We hope this helps you with this important matter. Please try to send these letters as soon as possible. Your supervisor’s contact information appears at the bottom of this letter.

SAMPLE LETTER BELOW

Dear Supervisor (Supervisor Name)
My name is (your name) and (I live/my family resides/my home is) in your district (district number optional).
I am (writing to/e-mailing) you to (let you know/tell you/inform you/ etc.) (that I am totally in favor of the/that I encourage the/that I fully endorse the/that I am asking you to support the/etc.) implementation of (AB 1421/Laura’s Law) in (this/our/Marin) County.
I am a (parent/mother/father/sibling/child/relative/etc.) of a mentally ill (son/daughter/parent/etc.) (you can add an optional short reference to your story – out of control/doesn’t believe he or she is ill/will not seek treatment/concerned for his or her safety/getting worse/deteriorating/concerned for my own or family’s safety/revolving door/jail threat/ suicide threat/etc.)
I am (in favor of/endorsing/backing/encouraging/askingfor/etc.) full implementation of Laura’s Law Assisted Outpatient Program (or at least a small 10 person pilot program.)
Thank you for your (prompt/full/etc.) attention to this matter. Or I thank you for listening to my (concerns/recommendations/experiences/views/request/etc.) Or just Thank you.
Sincerely,
(your contact info – name, address, phone number, e-mail address)

Contact Information for Marin County Supervisors

All County Supervisors can be reached through the main numbers:

Telephone: 415-473-7331
Fax: 415-473-3645

Emails:

District 1 – Damon Connolly
dconnolly@marincounty.org

District 2 – Katie Rice
krice@marincounty.org

District 3 – Kate Sears
ksears@marincounty.org

District 4 – Steve Kinsey
skinsey@marincounty.org

District 5 – Judy Arnold
jarnold@marincounty.org