Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 610 on Thursday. It was authored by local Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian.
The new law requires any county that refers a criminal offender to serve parole at Atascadero State Hospital, to reimburse San Luis Obispo County for court costs associated with the involuntary medication of that offender.
Until now, SLO County would have to carry that financial burden because of a loophole in state law.
Atascadero State Hospital treats some of the most violent mentally ill offenders from all over the state of California. Many of the patients require antipsychotic medication as part of their treatment.
However, patients cannot be required to take such medication without a court hearing. Those hearings usually take place in the county where the state hospital in located and not in the county where the offender was convicted. For that reason, SLO County has to provide attorney services even though the patient came from another county and committed the crime in another county.
AB 610 corrects that inequity by requiring the original county of conviction to reimburse the host counties for those costs.