Skip to main content

Quirk-Silva's Legislation for Mental Health Support Advances to Senate

For immediate release:
Press Release Header for Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk Silva

SACRAMENTO, CA - This morning, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) proudly announced that her bill, Assembly Bill 1788, was voted through the Assembly Floor with unanimous support. This bill empowers counties to establish a behavioral health multidisciplinary personnel team to facilitate behavioral health services to the justice-involved community with mental illness diagnoses and streamlines services for justice-involved individuals while incarcerated and upon release.

“By prioritizing mental well-being and improving communication channels, we can create a foundation for targeted care and ensuring effective rehabilitation within our justice-involved community” stated Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “To fulfill California’s commitment to rehabilitation and to reduce recidivism, we need to establish efficient practices to assist individuals dealing with mental health difficulties within the justice system.”

Over the last decade, the percentage of inmates faced with mental health needs increased from around 20% in January 2010 to an alarming 53% in June 2023. In the Orange County jail system alone, 22% of the average daily jail population had an open mental health case in 2014, by 2023 this increased to 45%. AB 1788 will better address the needs of people who are cycling in and out of county jails due to significant behavioral health issues.

“By establishing the needed authorization in law, AB 1788 would allow for the necessary communication amongst the team of individuals charged with assisting the mentally ill population of our jail,” said Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Don Barnes. “This information sharing will ensure continuity of care and help counties reduce the likelihood of recidivism.”  

AB 1788 has received unanimous bipartisan support throughout its votes in the Assembly. The bill is now advancing to the Senate for consideration.

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva represents the 67th Assembly District, which includes the Orange County communities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, and La Palma, as well as the Los Angeles County communities of Artesia, Cerritos, and Hawaiian Gardens.