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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)_ San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is divided over whether to implement “Laura’s Law”, named after a young woman who was killed by a paranoid schizophrenic.
The debate is over whether it would help or hurt the mentally ill.
The law would give local governments that opt into the program the power to go to court to force people with a history of violent mental illness into assisted outpatient treatment.
Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier wants the Board to implement “Laura’s Law” saying it would keep the mentally ill out of jail and off the streets while saving money and lives.
“For the young woman who a few years ago threw her three children off the bridge, people knew she had violent tendencies and there was nothing in place that anyone could do to stop her from doing this,” commented Alioto-Pier.
But Supervisor David Campos questions whether people respond well to involuntary court-ordered treatment.
“I’m just not convinced that “Laura’s Law” is the answer for every example that you can give that points to the justification for the law. You can also think of examples where maybe that’s not necessarily the best approach,” said Campos.
There’s also concern about what role medication plays in the treatment plan and where the money would come from when the city is already cutting back mental health programs.
The supervisors have delayed action once and will consider implementing “Laura’s Law” again this coming Tuesday.