ACLU of Northern California v. CA Dept of State Hospitals

Active Case
Apr 15, 2024

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ACLU of Northern CA

In one five-year period alone, dozens of people who had been declared incompetent to stand trial because of a serious mental illness, died in California jails – while waiting for a bed at a state treatment facility to become available. 

The ACLU Foundation of Northern California sued the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH), the agency that had primary responsibility for providing treatment to these individuals so they could eventually return to court to participate in the criminal proceedings against them. DSH has refused to produce records about how these people died, claiming it would violate the privacy of the deceased. 

The Department of State Hospitals is trying to hide behind privacy laws to insulate itself from public scrutiny. These records are essential for monitoring whether the state is properly protecting the rights of individuals deemed incompetent to stand trial. And DSH is breaking the law by withholding them. 

Learn more:

ACLU Lawsuit Demands Records on Mentally Ill People who died in Jail Awaiting Transfer to a State Treatment Facility, (Press Release April 15, 2024)

ACLU Sues California Department of State Hospitals over Mortality Records of Severely Mentally Ill Prisoners (Courthouse News, April 15, 2024

Instagram April 15, 2024

Jail Deaths, KQED April 17, 2024

Instagram April 17, 2024


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