Treating Mental Health To Prevent Crime

Substance abuse, mental health issues, poverty and a lack of affordable housing are all major causes of crime. In fact, over 75% of people in our jails have a serious mental illness and/or a history of substance use. John Hamasaki, a candidate for District Attorney who was just endorsed by San Francisco’s Democratic Party, believes we cannot continue to use San Francisco jails as a replacement for mental health care.

Hamasaki knows that incarceration does not cure mental health crises – in fact, the trauma of incarceration and the lack of treatment options available in prisons exacerbates mental illness. Hamasaki will implement proven and comprehensive approaches to tackle crime that address the root causes to end the cycle of recidivism – including untreated mental health conditions. He will fight to take care of struggling San Franciscans, prevent crime and save money by:

Join Our Campaign to Put Justice Beyond Politics:

Increasing access to office-based mental healthcare. A 2020 study shows that just ten additional mental health offices in a county reduces violent crime by 2% – with this increased investment in care we could have saved 1,013 San Franciscans from becoming victims of violent crimes in 2021.

Diverting people with mental illness from jail into treatment. One county saved $50 million over five years and resolved jail overcrowding through jail diversion tactics.

Diverting people with substance abuse issues from jail to rehabilitation. On average, every dollar spent on drug treatment saves $7 in criminal justice costs.

Extending and investing in the Street Crisis Response Team – our community-based pilot program for addressing mental health and substance abuse crises. In Denver, the implementation of a similar program led to a 34% reduction in non-serious crimes. This also keeps those in crisis safe, as over 25% of people who are shot and killed by police are experiencing mental health crises.

Jail is not a treatment plan. If we truly want to reduce crime in San Francisco and keep our communities safe – we need to tackle the issue head-on. If you agree that preventing crime through mental health treatment is better than cycling those who need care in and out of our criminal justice system, we hope you will join our campaign to put justice beyond politics.