The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will hear a report from the District Attorney’s Office about criminal justice improvement efforts during its meeting Tuesday.
The meeting, which allows for virtual attendance only, is scheduled for 9 a.m.
They will discuss off-ramps from the criminal justice system, including diversions.
The District Attorney’s Office will begin developing an evidence-based felony diversion program with Center for Court Innovations Oct. 1. The project is funded by a Bureau of Justice Assistance grant.
It is also making steps toward launching a neighborhood court.
Supervisors will also hear about early disposition efforts, including a recent increase in the number of cases rejected in the interest of justice. The number of rejected cases increased 110% between the first and second quarters of 2020, coinciding with the pandemic.
The District Attorney’s Office does not plan on maintaining the rate of rejections once the court system can resolve a backlog of cases.
It hopes to establish a dashboard for more transparency in the county’s criminal justice system.
Another goal is to upgrade digital evidence sharing to allot for officer body cameras and cell phone footage.
There is no action to be taken on this agenda item.
There will also be a hearing regarding the appeal of the Suarez Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation Project, which will be located in the 2200 block of Foothill Road in New Cuyama.
The Planning Commission approved the project March 31, and the Law Office of Marc Chytilo on behalf of Jean Gaillard appealed April 12.
The appellant argued that there isn’t enough water to supply the project and that neighboring agriculture will be harmed as a result of the development. Staff responded to all claims, asserting them as meritless.
On the administrative agenda, the Department of Behavioral Wellness seeks to launch a three-year contract with Dignity Health, providing a crisis stabilization unit at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria. The unit would provide emergency services to Santa Barbara County Medi-Cal beneficiaries experiencing a mental health crisis.
The County opened its first crisis stabilization unit in January 2016 in Santa Barbara. It can house eight patients for up to 23 hours.
Dignity Health funded the construction of an eight bed unit, and the county would pay $1.6 million annually for its services. Half of that amount will be paid by federal Medi-Cal funds.
To make a public comment on Zoom during the meeting, register in advance at countyofsb.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zK3q21YGQYKmzQQmEE6Bmg. There is time for public comment scheduled after the various agenda items.
You can also email comments to the board clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emailed comments are due at 5 p.m. today.
The board consists of Supervisors Das Williams, Gregg Hart, Joan Hartmann, Bob Nelson and Steve Lavagino. Supervisor Nelson is the chair, and Supervisor Hartmann is the vice chair.
For more information, go to www.countyofsb.org/bos.