To the editor:
As soon as the County Commission announces a gigantic tax increase to lock up more people, the public relations machine begins cranking up with announcements about small programs designed to treat those with mental illness and addiction instead of locking them up over and over again. Too little, too late.
I am very passionate about the need for a mental health crisis center, but the County Commission coupled that with a gigantic jail expansion on the same ballot. The Douglas County Commission was asked by Justice Matters three years ago to hire national experts in criminal justice reform to determine a smart, cost-effective way out of this huge jail expansion, and they refused and hired a local expert to do a piecemeal analysis.
But even before his first study, they paid Treanor Architects $518,000 to complete the final stages of design for the jail. Now, we’re supposed to believe the county is doing its best to address the underlying reasons people end up in jail? I don’t think so. Our community isn’t a “lock-them-up, ask questions later” type of community. Vote no and get the county to do the hard work of creating a truly just criminal justice system.