Author: Shellie Branco

Prison reform legislation short on money and ideas, Kern Co says

Prison reform tossed responsibility for low-level offenders to the county. Kern County says it will do a better job than the state in dealing with people who have broken the law – because it has no choice. But like other counties, they would have liked more money and ideas for managing people convicted of crimes.

Donna Taylor, director of the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health

Mental health patients shuffled between counties

One county drops a service and another county picks up the slack. It’s happening between Fresno and Kern counties when it comes to care for mentally ill patients in crisis. Two years ago, Fresno County shut down its mental health crisis stabilization unit, blaming high operating costs. Patients released after the closure ended up back in the hospital – this time in the ER under an involuntary medical hold. Fresno emergency rooms were ill-equipped to handle mental health issues, and hospitals shipped them off to Kern County for psychiatric crisis treatment.

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