Purpose: The County Commission is at the epicenter of two of our campaigns (1) Mental Health and (2) Alternatives to Incarceration. County Staff have told Justice Matters that the Commission will decide in the next few weeks when they will ask the voters for the money to expand the jail and build a new crisis center (together or as separate ballot measures).
They County has hired an expert who is supposed to be studying viable, safe alternatives to incarceration named Dr. Allen Beck. He is not going to complete his study until July, but the County Commission will decide in the next few weeks when to go to the voter to ask for money. This seems to demonstrate little faith in the search for alternatives. We know cities like Oklahoma City - with much larger problems of overcrowding - have discovered reforms in their system that have made additional jail space unnecessary.
For these reasons, we wish to demonstrate support for and express an alternative vision for:
- Long Wait Times for Mental Health Crisis Treatment - Instead of the present plan that says we should wait several years for a $10 million dollar Crisis Center facility to open, we know of one suitable building that can would cost $140,000/year to rent and is available to be open within 90 days.
- Bigger Jails - Instead of rushing to put a vote before the voters before a full study of alternatives is conducted and putting $30 million into a bigger jail, we want to see more restorative uses of our limited tax limited money.
Please join us as we begin to chart a different path for Lawrence when it comes to incarceration and mental health services.