Letter: Let's fix a broken system at jail

Published:

 

Clark County Sheriff's Commander Ric Bishop's promise to "house, treat and discharge the mentally ill back into the community in a better condition than we found them" (in the Oct. 28 story "At jail, a rising tide of suicide") is long overdue. However, replacing shower nozzles and sprinkler heads may reduce suicide but doesn't address the cause. Therefore, I'm encouraged to read that increased financial support will go to expand psychiatric health services and support the new regional behavioral health network.

It's time we think of those suffering devastating brain disorders as victims themselves and treat them appropriately. They have already received a life sentence of shattered self-esteem, isolation, embarrassment, social rejection, and poverty. And many can't escape the "unreality" of delusional thought disorder. They struggle constantly to maintain some semblance of dignity and deserve to be treated not as criminals.

In public schools children with learning disorders such as autism receive an individualized education plan. The mentally ill who are often diagnosed later in life receive little or no help learning to cope.

Let's fix the system so we can assist those with mental illness, not punish them.

Rebecca Anstine

Vancouver