Archive for Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Letter to the editor: Compassionate care

April 10, 2018

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To the editor:

I had the privilege of taking the jail tour that is being offered to the community. We have an exceptional facility that is staffed with compassionate and competent staff. What was made obvious in the presentation was the serious need for jail expansion if we are to continue to serve the inmates with competency and care. Currently the women’s quarters are totally inadequate. I have been a volunteer at the women’s prison in Topeka for several years and am very aware of how volunteer programs often lead to significant improved behavior and decision-making for inmates. The Douglas County jail provides multiple programs for the betterment of its inmates but the need to house inmates in other counties greatly interferes with those services. I am a retired mental health professional who is also extremely supportive of the community’s need for improved crisis intervention services. I am the mother and grandmother of children of color for whom I worry about their safety in an often hostile environment. It is evident that Douglas County is attempting to address these needs with top-quality efforts. I am a former supporter of Justice Matters but have come to believe that their adversarial approach toward the county has become an interference in the efforts of our county to maintain our nationally recognized quality correctional system. I believe that by voting “yes” I am acting in justice and in accordance with my Christian beliefs that all people should be treated with respect and love. Please take advantage of this opportunity being offered by our jail to educate yourself on the facts related to voting.

Comments

Melinda Henderson 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It's got to take a lot of courage to put this in a public LTE:

"I am a former supporter of Justice Matters but have come to believe that their adversarial approach toward the county has become an interference in the efforts of our county to maintain our nationally recognized quality correctional system."

Good for you for speaking the truth. Justice Matters is nothing but a cult. (The "Cult of a Better Way") And they are ripping at the fabric of our community. Why 20 churches (give or take) are okay with that is beyond me.

People need to wake up to that fact. It's always been Justice Matters' way or the highway. They are the last people I want telling my city and county how to spend my tax dollars. I wish voters would take a break from fretting about what the president is doing to our country and focus on what Justice Matters is doing to our community. They blatantly lie and won't respond when they're called on it. In fact, I dare Ben McConnell to respond to me here.

Voters need to wake up and activate their critical thinking skills before it's too late.

Sharilyn Wells 1 month, 2 weeks ago

what happened after mental health reform has been very disturbing some of us cannot get the things out or minds.

Steve Jacob 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I love your comment Melinda. Not sure people who put money in the collect plate on Sundays want it to be used for stopping the jail, like signs and hiring people to call. You know Justice Matters is going to try to get what they want out of the affordable housing sales tax, I hope they leave them out of the crisis center planning.

Kendall Simmons 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Frankly, I don't think that one of our concerns should be "to maintain our nationally recognized quality correctional system". Rather it should be to work toward keeping people out of the correctional system in the first place.

We need more judges so that people who have NOT been found guilty don't have to spend months and months (if not years) in our "nationally recognized quality correctional system".

We need additional, more expansive mental health options for those many people who need THAT kind of help, not merely imprisonment.

For a "retired mental health professional", the author doesn't seem to understand that more jail cells is NOT the answer.

Melinda Henderson 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You bet we need more judges. But district court judges are not funded at the county level. They did fund two pro-tem judges to help ease some of the non-criminal case load, but thank the state for not providing enough district court judges. Anyone who qualifies for pre-trial release or behavioral health court (i.e. "not found guilty") are not spending months / years in jail. I'm not sure why you think that is happening. Help me understand, please, Kendall. Thanks.

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