A Letter I wrote to the Editor of the TJT…
I believe that instead of putting that money into a jail expansion, it would make better economic sense to put those funds towards a greater solution. We need to look at the big picture here.
We need programs that will instill the values that seem to be lacking in our community. Parents need to be held responsible for their young children’s behavior and education. There are many parents that need to learn how to instill pride, self respect, good judgment, confidence, and integrity into their children. Parents need to be held accountable. We need to develop resources that will help parents do this. We need realistic affordable family counseling. What I mean by realistic is counseling services without a 3 month waiting period. Parenting and education are at the fundamental core of creating a positive community. It has to start at the beginning.
Many of the offenders taking up space in the jails and prisons are there because of addiction, in one way or another. Either they are dealers supplying the addicts, addicts committing crimes to gain their drug of choice, or committing crimes while under the influence. This community needs a realistic inpatient treatment facility that is affordable to those from all walks of life. There are many empty buildings in this city wasting away. Take one of these buildings, hire experienced professionals, and begin to treat one of the roots of our community’s problems. Downtown business owners are so appalled by the presence of homeless people adorning their precious Main Street. Perhaps they can help provide grants to this treatment center to help these people get back on their feet. I do not think people understand what it costs for a patient who is uninsured to get addiction treatment. They simply expect them to get over it. Or even more so, people simply do not care. We bury our heads in the sand and pass judgment. What does that solve? These people need serious rehabilitation and I think we can all agree this does not exist in the jail system.
We need to keep jobs here at home. We need to vote for politicians who will fight against our jobs being outsourced to other countries. We need our local businesses to hire on employees instead of keeping “temporary” employees for years and years with no benefits or opportunities for advancement. We need to reward local companies who really make a contribution to hiring local citizens. And we need to penalize companies who practice otherwise.
People do not want to seem to look at the entire vision. It is all connected. We are all connected. This is a community and the problems and issues of one family seep throughout the entire population. Everyone at one time or another is affected by the ripples created by another. The crime in this city will not subside until the roots of these issues are addressed and dealt with: addiction, joblessness, lack of positive parenting, and lack of self respect and pride. We need a willingness to put the money and the manpower into programs that will chip away at the actual problems, not just their symptoms.