One in five teenagers will be kidnapped this year by a disease that has no cure and does not discriminate, affecting all races, genders, socio-economic and educational levels equally. We know this kidnapper by many names bipolar disorder, ocd, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia and major depression disorder.
To add insult to injury, many of these young people will be incarcerated because of strange, bizarre or threatening behavior while in the grips of a "crisis" or mental breakdown. Many will self-medicate with illegal drugs in the absence of effective therapy and medications, again running afoul of the law.
Through no one's fault, today's criminal justice system is ill equipped to handle the mentally ill. Individuals within the criminal justice system know more than anyone else that the current system in Benton County is in need of repair by providing more effective tools to deal with the mentally ill. One of those tools is a mental health court provided for within the Benton County Safety Tax Proposition. As part of the mental health court, mentally ill individuals will be required to comply with court ordered therapies and drug treatment.
I urge you to vote for the Benton County public safety tax.
THOMAS F. HALL, Richland