Letter to the editor: Trust the county

To the editor:

As a longtime social worker, I would like to put the issue of the jail/mental health sales tax referendum in perspective.

The Justice Matters group’s intentions are admirable, but its logic may be harmful. Our law enforcement officers and justice departments are working with existing laws and regulations. The county is already spending more than a million dollars a year to house offenders in other jurisdictions and losing space to provide on-site services to those incarcerated. That will continue unless more space is provided in our county. Expanded mental health services and drug detox offerings are essential, but on-site social services at the jail are also important.

The county has already taken many steps to decrease incarceration and has been recognized nationally for its vision and accomplishments. Mass incarceration and privatization of prisons is a problem; however, those issues are entrenched in our larger political system.

Social services and education are fundamental in providing resources for personal growth and life improvement. Until our country is willing to support accessible and quality resources for all its citizens, we stand to continue to merely react when faced with a problem of much greater depth.

I am proud of the steps our community has already taken to address the rising problems of crime and incarceration. I vote yes!