By Anthony Saude
Chino – The news that a 50-bed mental health hospital is being proposed for the California Institution for Men (CIM) got out it wasn’t welcomed with open arms by all residents. The residents from the College Park neighborhood in Chino have concerns and showed up to a scheduled meeting to voice them to the prison’s citizens advisory committee on Tuesday at 8:30 am. When they arrived they were told that prison officials had given some inaccurate information about the 8:30 start time and they had missed the opening by 30 minutes.
The residents, the neighbors north of CIM, ended up at the California Institution for Women’s citizens advisory committee that was being held at a conference room on the Chaffey College campus. The Women’s advisory committee and prison official allowed the residents to present their concerns to them even if they were addressing the wrong group.
Residents read about the mental health hospital being proposed and were shocked. It was said that they don’t want to increase the prison population; they would rather see a decrease. The possible increased safety issues that could arise by putting a mental hospital in a residential community were also an expressed concern. The residents were informed that the city plans to discuss the facility at length with Scott Kernan the secretary for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) at a date that has not yet been determined.
Courts are now requiring that all inmates that suffer from a mental illness must be treated so the prisons are essentially being forced to have the same complete care as mental health hospitals. The 50 beds in this facility will be used for inmates in crisis, after treatment they will either be sent back to the prison they were assigned or they will be transferred to a state mental health hospital if more extensive treatment has been prescribed.
It is obviously very important to have controls in place so that the inmates don’t become a danger to the community upon release, and that good security is in place to prevent escapes. It is policy that nobody from CIM is ever released into the community where the prison is located. The law actually requires the inmates to be returned to the county they came from and then released.