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Report: California Lacks Psychiatric Beds for Severely Mentally Ill
California Health Report

Jails and prisons are the largest “mental institutions” in California, holding far more people with severe psychiatric illnesses than state hospitals, according to a report released last Tuesday by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

“For a state with 38 million people — 1 in every 8 Americans lives in California —there are almost no public psychiatric beds available for individuals with serious mental illness,” the report states.

There are a total of 4,652 beds at Metropolitan, Patton, Napa, and Atascadero state hospitals, but 88 percent of them are reserved for mentally ill individuals who have been charged with crimes, according to the report. Another state hospital at Coalinga, the report says, is used almost exclusively for sexually violent predators.