There was troubling news from an Augusta courtroom this month, when a judge denied Mark Bechard permission to move from a group home to a supervised apartment.

Bechard had been found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disease or defect after a brutal 1996 attack on cloistered nuns in Waterville and has been indefinitely committed to state custody. Any change in his living conditions has to be cleared by a court.

What was troubling about the hearing was not that moving Bechard to a less-restrictive environment could have exposed the community to some risk. The troubling thing was that management failures at Riverview Psychiatric Center are filtering down to the quality of care for patients, and the judge did not have confidence that there were safeguards in place for Bechard to make progress in his treatment.

By the state’s admission, Bechard’s treatment staff was in “disarray” because of significant turnover at Riverview, and the team working with Bechard might not recognize a deterioration of his mental health because they don’t know him well enough.

According to a Riverview official, Bechard has had at least three psychiatric care providers since January and is anticipating a new one later this year.

At the time of the hearing, no nurse practitioner was assigned to his case, and Bechard was waiting for a new case manager to be assigned next month.

In denying the request, Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen found “that there simply is no substitute for a person developing a relationship (with a patient). … It is a fact that (Bechard’s) level of suspiciousness and distrust of others can minimize his ability to come forward and bring issues that (he) may be experiencing to his treatment providers.”

Turmoil at Riverview, especially regarding forensic patients like Bechard who have been committed through the criminal justice process, has been evident for several years. The hospital lost its federal certification in 2013 and has forfeited $20 million a year in Medicaid reimbursements. A revolving door for senior leadership and inadequate pay for front-line workers have apparently translated into an unstable environment for patients.

The turmoil is probably not unique to Bechard’s case. His hearing attracted public notice only because of the horrible consequences of his psychotic break and attack at the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament chapel. Three nuns were bludgeoned to death and a fourth was seriously injured.

Given that history and the potential for violence, you would think that monitoring his care would be a top priority. If Bechard’s treatment team is constantly changing and incomplete, what’s going on with the people whose names are not as well known?

It’s long past time for the state to get its act together and bring stability to the treatment of some seriously ill people.