Many of us know someone affected by a mental health issue. Fewer of us know someone so afflicted and incarcerated. More than half of those in jails and/or prisons suffer from mental health problems, more than two to four times the general population.
Disproportionately, these individuals come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are further challenged by inadequate mental health services, reflecting an estimated $4.35 billion cut in state budgets during the past three years. The Spokane County Jail is currently the second-largest mental health facility in the state and the only jail to be certified as a mental health provider. We need to do better by our community.
Spokane’s Smart Justice campaign and the “Blueprint for Reform” seek to address this and other challenges to our criminal justice system through proven cost-saving measures. While the sitting deputy prosecutor is floating the idea of creating a mental health sentencing alternative in the county, we’d be confident that Breean Beggs, who did the yeoman’s work for the plan, would ensure it happens. He understands the causes for crime are often more than simply bad people doing bad things.
I support Beggs for county prosecutor and encourage you to also do so.
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