Services, Not Incarceration

Santa Barbara could save money and avoid woes by providing services rather than incarceration to those suffering from mental illness, substance addiction, and social skills privation.

As it is now, jail permanently stigmatizes individuals so that they can’t thereafter get jobs, credit, or transport. In other words, such persons necessarily become recidivists or homeless or worse. Instead of a North County jail (which we twice voted down 61 percent to 39 percent in 2000, and again in 2010 by the same margin), we need services for our needy citizens. It is cheaper to provide services than to stack a jail, especially one with costs ever exploding. It’s a no brainer.

San Antonio has done it. Across America many jurisdictions from the

East Coast to the West Coast have done it. We in Santa Barbara are behind the curve (or maybe behind the incarceration industry). Let’s not make our situation retrograde. We can’t afford the costs. (“Grants” to help fund such a disaster ultimately come from us taxpayers. The idea that such moneys come free is a myth.)

And, we don’t need to pay the tab for high-level county enforcement officers to jet to Scandinavia to study recent advances in treatments. We have an acknowledged expert, Jeffrey A. Beard, PhD, secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, whom we can and ought to invite to consult with our county officials regarding good, up-to-date practices guaranteed to radically reduce the jail population we have now and thus obviate the need for a second Taj Mahal North County jail.

Check this site and decide for yourself.


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