More funding for sheriff’s deputies, equipment and facilities, more jail beds and corrections officers to accommodate increased juvenile and adult arrests and more prosecutors to handle increased caseloads – is Snohomish County drawing all the bad apples or are we perhaps trying to place a law and justice “bandage” on the symptoms rather than face up to the causes?
Alternatives? How about early intervention in troubled families? How about more diversion and alternative-to-incarceration programs such as the successful Snohomish County Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs that focus on education, treatment and helping drug and alcohol abusers overcome their addictions, helping in turn to keep them out of the criminal justice system? How about a living wage, affordable housing, affordable health care and education and training for the disadvantaged, thereby attacking the grassroots of poverty and ignorance, which create the desperation which drives so many to break the law?
Sheriff Rick Bart indicates that population growth and the need to shorten call response times are fueling the need for more officers, equipment and facilities. Snohomish County indicates state requirements are also driving the need for more law and justice. Do we want to continue making most of our county general fund investments in criminal justice? Perhaps it’s time to rethink and revamp the county’s entire law and justice system.
Whatever your position, now is the time to make it known. Your state legislators and legislator wannabes are knocking on doors looking for votes; and the county council is scheduled to hold a public hearing about next year’s budget on Nov. 21. Call, visit, write or e-mail your public officials about your position. As for me, I believe there is no law and justice bandage big enough to cover the societal sores that are creating the need for more and more law and justice in Snohomish County. I’m going to ask my elected/hoping-to-be-elected officials to spend more of my tax moneys on prevention and cure – a better investment, I believe, in ours and our children’s future.
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