Gloria Molina
County wants plan before funding ways to divert mentally ill from jail

Los Angeles County supervisors postponed a proposal Tuesday to set aside $20 million for programs to divert mentally ill criminal defendants from jails, saying a plan is needed first. The proposal — suggested by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas — comes as the county is under federal pressure to improve treatment of mentally ill jail inmates and as it embarks on a $2-billion overhaul that includes a new Men's Central Jail centered around treatment beds for mentally ill inmates. At the same time, a group headed by Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has been studying how to expand diversion programs to reduce the number of mentally ill inmates in county lockups. Their report is to be...