Sobering center not for supes

05/16/2013

The stand-alone sobering center for public drunkards that was recommended by the county’s independent watchdog did not earn support last week from the Marin County Board of Supervisors. The board’s decision not to consider such a venue came in its official response to the chief recommendation of a report issued in March by the Marin Civil Grand Jury. That report said a sobering center was a more effective and humane way to deal with a countywide problem of public drunkenness that in more than nine out of ten cases ends with a trip in a sheriff’s deputy car to the hospital or the county jail, according to 2011 statistics. Only eight percent of public inebriates are transported to sobering beds at Helen Vine, a treatment facility on the outskirts of San Rafael. “This recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted,” the board response reads, adding that county staff have recommended the development of a jail diversion program and an expansion of detoxification services at the homeless shelter. Supervisors wrote that “not all public inebriates are appropriate for or are willing to go to a sobering center,” saying the decision to take subjects to hospitals, jail or sobering centers was at the discretion of deputies and other authorities. “Some of the individuals are not able to be behaviorally managed within a sobering center, while others refuse this service,” they added.