Suggests more funds for mental health

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDOctober 5, 2013 

As someone with a family member in the corrections profession, I am pleased at the prospect of a new jail facility, one that can meet our community's capacity needs while maintaining, if not improving, safety and security for staff.

That being said, if the county is going to spend over $100 million on this new project, isn't it worth investing at least a small fraction of that cost in mental health treatment programs? Would we still have any need for a facility of 649 beds if we diverted, say, 2 percent of the construction cost toward these services? An early diagnosis of a mental health disorder, along with effective treatment, can improve quality of life for these individuals, prevent additional or escalating criminal behavior, and allow us to concentrate taxpayer funds on securing the truly dangerous offenders.

Katharine Conrad

Bellingham

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