Sen. Bob Hertzberg, former Pro Tem Steinberg and counties nationwide push to reduce number of mentally ill inmates

Nationwide events recognize crisis

May 7, 2015

SACRAMENTO – As part of a national effort to raise public awareness, Senator Bob Hertzberg (D – Van Nuys), former Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, and officials from counties nationwide today highlighted ways to reduce the number of people suffering from mental illness who are jailed.

“Both our mental health system and our jails are in crisis. In Los Angeles alone 3,500 inmates need medication to address mental illness. We need treatment and training for people with mental illness to keep them out of our jails. Jails are for criminals, not for sick Californians,” Hertzberg said.

In working towards these efforts, Senator Hertzberg authored Senate Bill 621 to clarify that the Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction (MIOCR) Grant Program can be used for diversion programs to reduce recidivism and re-incarceration of mentally ill offenders.

Additional Background

  • There are more than 2 million adults with serious mental illnesses admitted to jails each year.
  • Once incarcerated, people with mental illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and are at a higher risk of re-incarceration than individuals without these illnesses.
  • Jails spend up to three times more on people with mental illnesses than they do on people without those needs.
  • The additional time and resources devoted to these individuals result in strained budgets and burdened taxpayers while doing little to impact the individuals, or public safety, in a positive way.

Video of the event is available HERE.

Video of Senator Hertzberg's remarks are available HERE.

For more, including a Fact Sheet on SB 621, visit Hertzberg’s Web site at the address below.

Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map HERE or at  After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg built an international renewable energy business; invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through two civic groups: California Forward and the Think Long Committee of California. More HERE or at

MEDIA CONTACT: Diane Griffiths or Zulma Michaca

Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Senate District 18
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, Calif. 95814
(916) 651-4018 office; or

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