Once again the managers of the county psychiatric care operation (under the pseudonym “Behavioral Wellness”) have stepped in to deter the provision of needed help for the folks they are charged to aid.

The department objects to the use of the former juvenile hall facility, which was to be made available to supplement the “locked care” resources of the county, because it is “not ideal” for this purpose. This is consistent with what seems to be decades of sabotage to the effort to attend to the difficult population with mental health issues requiring more than “walk in” care. As a result, this population has ended up mostly in the county jail.

It is thus almost sickening to read that Director Alice Gleghorn objects to the use of the old juvenile hall facility on the basis that it is “rows of cell blocks.” Does she find the jail less objectionable? As director, she should have the leadership, talent, and competency to provide the care these charges deserve, even if the facility offered for that purpose is not architecturally ideal. Either this management task is not apparently within her competency or we can take her objection to the structure of the old juvenile hall as more picky evidence of her department’s historic unwillingness to deal with this population at all.

As a result of this obtrusiveness, Santa Barbara County will extend its embarrassing failure to meet the burden it owes to care locally and therapeutically for these souls. And, where is the Board of Supervisors in this silliness?


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