Many of us who have been working in various ways to help house the homeless, treat addicts and care for the mentally ill are pleased with the progress that has been made in Snohomish County in recent years to develop and implement sensible criminal justice policies that help transform lives of those living on the streets, make our communities safer places to live, and also save the taxpayers money.
Numerous statistics are available to demonstrate the slow but steady success of social workers embedded with law enforcement, diversion programs, and so forth, even as the national crisis of opioid addiction and homelessness continues to swirl around us.
A revolving door at the county jail may give some in our community a feeling that we are being tough on crime, but that revolving door frequently does nothing to change behaviors that lead to incarceration in the first place. It is my plea to our Sheriff-elect Adam Fortney to build on these programs that are working. Talk with those that are doing this work in law enforcement, non-profits and faith communities. Partnerships between law enforcement and the broader community are key to stronger, safer communities for all.
The Rev. Carol Jensen