What we want: Allocate 4 million dollars to build residential treatment facilities for those with non violent mental illness, which will save 3 million dollars yearly in ongoing jail costs.
How we would use it: Cooperate with Faith Communities, FamiliesACT!, and local builders supporting Next Steps Model to relocate 150 of these persons into residential treatment facilities built on County property.
How to fund it: One source could be: Redirect 4 million dollars in 2014 funding for the 2nd new jail expansion grant, 228 additional jail beds we no longer need if we remove those with non violent mental illness.
Why this is good for taxpayers: Save approximately 3 million dollars more per year spent in ongoing jail costs for 150 persons. Divert over 1 million dollars per year from mental health services in jail to more effective Residential Treatment.
Why this is good for public safety: Closes the revolving door by replacing repeated incarceration for minor infractions with effective treatment.
Why this is good for those with non violent mental illness: Reduces human suffering and misuse of funds that should be used in effective treatment.
Why now: County Reports have been calling for action to end this human suffering and wasteful spending since 2009. Every year we delay, we waste 3 million dollars and inflict unnecessary damage on people who need help. That 3 million dollars could be better spent on schools or other county needs.
Next step: Present petition at April 1 Board of Supervisors meeting.
Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors
Santa Barbara County needs to stop the cycle of repeated incarceration by providing residential treatment for those with non violent mental illness. We want the Board of Supervisors to allocate $4 million in funding for building the Next Steps Model to relocate the 150 persons currently in jail into residential treatment. This will not only save taxpayers over $3 million per year, but it will improve public safety by treating repeat offenders and removing them from the cycle of minor violations, incarceration and untreated release. Redirecting $1 million from poor performing mental health treatment in jail to residential treatment provides a long term solution instead of a short term fix. County Reports for 4 years now have documented this need for proper treatment of those with mental illness and ending the waste of public funds on their incarceration. It is time to act.