One more California County has signed on to Laura’s Law. San Francisco Board of Supervisors yesterday voted to approve implementing the measure that allows courts to compel people with severe mental illness and a history of arrest or violence to stay in treatment, as a condition of living in the community. Laura’s law came about after a Mental Health Patient, Scott Allan Thorpe, in 2001, walked into the Nevada County H-E-W Building for an appointment with his therapist , but when he approached the attendant, instead of registering, he produced a 9mm handgun and began firing. 19 year old Laura Wilcox, a college student picking up some part time work while home on winter break was killed instantly, one of three people who would die that day from Thorpe’s rampage. Nick and Amanda Wilcox, Laura’s parents have taken their family tragedy to become a force for change in the mental health system by pushing for Laura’s Law. Yesterday Nevada County Behavioral Health Director Michael Heggarty asked the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to approve renewing a contract with Turning Point Community Programs which administers Laura’s Law in Nevada County and is currently serving 90 individuals with positive results.
click here to listen to Michael Heggarty
Nevada County was the first county to adopt Laura’s Law. Since then Los Angeles County, Yolo County, Orange County and now San Francisco have adopted some form of Laura’s law.
A bill to extend Laura’s Law was recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown . The signing means the authority in the Laura’s Law statute for a county to operate, establish or continue a program of assisted outpatient treatment, has been extended through 2017.