When you're looking at $100 million to build a new prison maybe some alternatives ought to be considered. In the 1980's when Saint Ronny was President the federal government cut funding for state mental hospitals and out-treatment programs. The result of that policy has been haunting us ever since. The explosion of the homeless population, people who can't hold a job because they're too confused to even perform the activities of daily living and the resulting crime. It's easy to say lock up all the criminals, the hard part is to find a way to prevent crime.
As much as I knock the Luzerne County Commissioners I have to give them props for trying something different. Greg Skrepnak was a leader in establishing the Drug Court and now they have a new initiative.
Commissioners trying to start a mental health court to get nonviolent offenders help.
Once you're convicted of a crime and locked up for a while it's hard to get your life back. The laws seemed to be designed to prevent you from rejoining society. If a landlord or employer does a background check you can't get a job or a place to live. Wilkes-Barre and other communities are busy passing laws on where sex offenders can live. If these people are so dangerous why not just lock them up for life? If drunk driving was as big a problem as we are told I think we would be all dead judging by how may cars are in the parking lots of the local taverns and clubs. And how about throwing people in jail because they fall behind in child support, that helps them pay off the obligation.
An antidote about how quick someone can get thrown in jail that causes even more damage. A friend of mine was a taxi driver that split up with his wife and a couple of kids were involved. He had court ordered support that he did his best to meet. Cab drivers don't make much money so when he got behind on support payments they suspended his drivers license. Makes sense, huh. He bounced from job to job getting even more behind on support payments and then they threw him in jail because he was so far behind. What good did that do?
1 hour ago