Proposition 63 in action

Report on MHSA details positive trends among mentally ill in California

Former state Sen. Darrell Steinberg has countered criticism of his Mental Health Services Act, also known as Proposition 63, by commissioning a report that highlights positive trends in incarceration, arrests and homelessness among Californians receiving mental health treatment.

Voted into law in 2004, the bill has raised more than $13 billion for mental health services through a tax on people with incomes exceeding $1 million. But Prop. 63 has been criticized for a lack of accountability; in 2012, The Associated Press reported that tens of millions of dollars had been used to help residents who weren’t diagnosed with mental illnesses.

The new report, compiled by the County Behavioral Health Directors Association and the Steinberg Institute for Advancing Behavioral Health Policy and Leadership, looked at about 40 percent of individuals who qualified for services under the bill in 2011-12. It found that arrests decreased by 82 percent, homelessness declined by 47 percent, psychiatric hospitalizations fell 42 percent, and rates of incarceration dropped 27 percent.