Friday, April 12, 2013

Visceral opposition, rational support

A Deeth re-endorsement

As the justice center election heats up, I'm struck by the visceral nature of the opposition. We have cutlery jokes, statistical distortions--I've even heard the proposal called "a crime against humanity."

I share the gut-level frustration at bad city policing policy, accepted by an indifferent city council, and state and federal drug laws that lag behind public opinion. I look forward to working with opponents at the right time and in the right elections.

For a long time these concerns had me opposing the justice center. But after years of meetings and efforts I decided to think with my head instead.

It's the county that provides the most direct services in substance abuse and mental health, and the current sheriff and county attorney have taken the best steps possible within the existing laws and space.

But in-house treatment and batterer's classes can't be expanded without space, and can't be offered to the prisoners who are shipped out. Trial dates can't be moved up without more space, and the historic building can't add those rooms. Only a co-located jail with new courtrooms and meeting space can add the efficiences that will make justice move more swiftly.

The justice system discussion needs to continue in this year's city election and in next year's state and federal contests. But this time, the real-world benefits to the accused and yes, even the guilty, make Yes the humane, rational vote.

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