* Shawn Hubler’s July 9 column on sexually violent predators was right on target. As a retired state employee who held an executive position at Atascadero State Hospital, I see the process of sending SVPs to state hospitals such as Atascadero as an easy way to make points with the public and further punish criminals. However, the cost to the mental health system in California is outrageous.
Before the SVPs entered the mental health system, state hospitals had become treatment/ research centers for the most difficult-to-treat mentally ill. Delegations from other states and countries visited Atascadero to see the quality of treatment. Pharmaceutical houses worked closely with the staff to develop new anti-psychotic medications. Building the clinical teams to treat these patients took years. Now, staff who have the skills to work with the few truly dangerous psychotic patients are moving to other facilities where they can use their skills. Clinical skills are generally wasted on the SVP population. These inmates attempt to prey on all those who are exposed to them.
San Luis Obispo