San Francisco—Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye today announced the appointment of the Judicial Council’s Mental Health Issues Implementation Task Force, which will develop a plan designed to improve justice system responses to offenders with mental illness.

Presiding Judge Richard L. Loftus, Jr. of the Superior Court of Santa Clara, was appointed chair of the 16-member task force. Members include judges and court executive officers from across the state. A membership roster appears below.

The task force is specifically charged with developing a plan and identifying plan-related activities for implementing the recommendations of the Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues which are under Judicial Council purview. After those proposals are identified, the task force will prepare a plan with key milestones for implementing the recommendations.

In April 2011, the Judicial Council received a comprehensive report from the Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues that made 137 recommendations for improving practice and procedure in cases involving both adult and juvenile offenders with mental illness. The task force proposals encompassed the entire criminal and juvenile justice continuum, from early intervention through reentry into the community after incarceration or detention.

Task force proposals were designed to:

  • Promote innovative and effective practices to foster the fair and efficient processing and resolution of cases involving mentally ill persons in the criminal justice system;
  • Expand education programs for the judicial branch, State Bar members, law enforcement, and mental health service providers to address the needs of offenders with mental illness;
  • Foster excellence through implementation of evidence-based practices for serving persons with mental illness; and
  • Encourage collaboration among criminal justice partners and other stakeholders to facilitate interagency and interbranch efforts that reduce recidivism and promote improved access to treatment for persons with mental illness.

That report is posted on the California Courts website at