Letter to the editor: Let’s change
To the editor:
It is time for a reallocation of resources by the city and county commissions to better reflect our needs and to permanently lower the number of people in jail. Three areas require attention.
1) Financial inequality is staggering. Housing, education, health care — all must be made equitable. For example, wealthy people are often able to keep family members suffering from addiction out of jail. Everyone should have access to effective treatment. We need to be part of a national redirection of funding.
2) According to “Punishment Without Crime” by Alexandra Natapoff, 80% of crimes nationwide are misdemeanors. A Kansas City protester was violently arrested by police for stepping off the sidewalk. Our resources should not be going there. Re-examining camping ordinances is an important part of this work until we provide adequate housing. We need to rethink traffic violations. No one should be killed because they have a tail light missing.
3) Community protection with justice for all is critical. Historically, police have protected the white, the propertied and the powerful. We need to change mindset and purpose. Let’s empower crisis workers to address problems of homelessness, addiction and mental health.
Lawrence has people full of good will, thoughtful and hard-working leaders, dedicated and caring protesters, and a police force that helped ensure a safe protest. We have a newspaper that is committed to ferreting out facts. It will not be easy, but we must make meaningful change.
Jennifer Kimball Brown,