Letters to the Editor: This is why the ACLU opposes Gov. Newsom’s CARE Courts
To the editor: Columnist Anita Chabria gets one point right: “We are all heartsick with the endless suffering on our streets, angry and frustrated with a problem that seems to be growing exponentially worse despite countless political promises to fix it.” (“California’s most famous homeless man is dead. His life should guide CARE Court,” column, Feb. 2)
The unmet need for safe, affordable housing and effective mental health services amounts to a humanitarian crisis. But an endorsement of the so-called CARE Court program, which involves subjecting people to court-ordered treatment, is dangerous and delusional.
As studies have shown, adding a court order to a treatment plan is not more effective than high-quality voluntary services and housing. Our real problem is a statewide shortage of these essential resources.
The state and its counties should focus on replenishing our supply of voluntary mental health services and safe, subsidized affordable housing. Establishing a new court system will do nothing to address these shortages while rolling back the civil rights of community members in the most vulnerable circumstances.
Eve Garrow, Orange
The writer is a senior policy analyst and advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.