Letter: Public safety tax: Yes

June 8, 2014 

I support establishment of a mental health court in Benton County. Jails are not where the mentally ill belong. Jailers should not be tasked with treating persons in the throes of a mental health crisis. Other prisoners could be at risk, as well as the person who is symptomatic. This situation benefits no one involved.

Mentally ill prisoners are often without treatment. This can become a futile, repetitive cycle for persons with mental illness of frequent court appearances and incarcerations. This needlessly costs the taxpayer.

Mental health court requires mentally ill offenders to comply with a court-ordered treatment plan. This approach addresses the special needs involved in treating brain disorders, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and paranoia. Often a consistent medication regime is a turning point for recovery. Research shows fewer mentally ill repeat offenders are crowding our jails after going through mental health court.

I support the Benton County "public safety tax" and urge its passage.

SARA A. HALL, Richland

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