The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has announced the opening of a 10-bed jail-based competency treatment program.
The office works with Wellpath healthcare services to provide the treatment.
JBCT is a program for patients the court has deemed incompetent to stand trial. Usually, an inmate waits several months to get a spot at a state hospital for treatment. With JBCT, patients can progress and even complete treatment in the jail.
Over the past four fiscal years, Santa Barbara County averaged 50 adults per year who were jailed on felony charges and deemed incompetent to stand trial.
“Our new jail-based competency treatment program will now allow inmates who are incompetent to stand trial to begin treatment soon after it is ordered by the court, rather than having to wait three to six months or longer for a bed to open in the State Hospital system,” Sheriff Bill Brown said in a news release.
Patients spend 52 days, on average, in a Wellpath JBCT before their competency is restored. Then they’re able to return to court within 10 days for their cases to be adjudicated.
“This local jail-based treatment program will reduce custody time and challenges for inmates and jail staff alike,.” Sheriff Brown said. “JBCT now joins the Sheriff’s Treatment Program and our medication-assisted treatment program to form a suite of programs that the Sheriff’s Office has established to assist inmates who suffer from mental illness and/or co-occurring substance abuse disorders.”
The Sheriff’s Office and Wellpath will partner with the Santa Barbara County Behavioral Wellness Department when patients are released. The Behavioral Wellness Department ensures continued mental health and substance-abuse treatment services.