Jail mental health wing

TO THE EDITOR

The CJCC Committee of St. Croix County is considering remodeling the small basketball court at the jail into a mental health wing. Is that a good idea? Boredom in the jail is a key factor in fighting among prisoners and in destroying jail property. Does building a structure itself solve the problems? I don't think so. When this jail was built, we were told that it was built to address all the issues in a jail. Were we misled?

Do other jails in Wisconsin have mental health wings? No! Is that because jailers are not trained to be mental health professionals? One wonders why all these mentally ill people are kept in the jail in the first place.

It will cost real dollars to remodel the jail. It will not fix the symptoms causing the problem. One past therapist who worked in the jail said that the solution may be to hire two new full-time therapists as well as giving the inmates their required prescription meds (pain, antipsychotic, ADHD, bipolar). Another solution may be that instead of arresting them, take them to the mental health facilities in Eau Claire, Mendota, and other locations designated by the state.

Mentally ill people and people addicted to alcohol and drugs are in jail because the State of Wisconsin and St. Croix County have adopted the philosophy of putting them into jail instead of investing in other appropriate facilities.

One proven solution that I believe most judges and prosecutors support would be to adopt the current Rule 25 program. In the past it has provided inpatient treatment to Wisconsin residents at no cost to Wisconsin taxpayers. Wisconsin, both economically and as it pertains to criminal, mental health, and addiction law, is way behind the sister State of Minnesota. It would behoove us to follow that example.

Building a structure does not solve the problem. You also need to address the concerns of the inmates being housed there. Locking people up without dealing with the actual problems facing the inmates is what got St. Croix County and the State of Wisconsin in this situation in the first place.

John Kucinski

River Falls

I want a new president

TO THE EDITOR

I want a new president.

I sympathize with the leadership of both parties in dealing with the president. Republican leaders never wanted him. Since his election, they've supported him in exchange for Supreme Court seats and in hopes of retaining his voters, but this is not what they wanted.

I sympathize with the Democratic leaders navigating the uncertainty of whether to impeach in the House, knowing he's nearly certain to be acquitted in the Senate. If they choose to impeach, when should they do it? Immediately? Deep into primary season? Just before the election? They have to pick the strategy that will get him voted out of office even while he's acquitted and crowing to the media that this "proves" he's innocent. This is a difficult, high-stakes decision to make.

I also want the roughly 40% of Americans that support the president to be heard and respected, despite the fact I want their candidate to fail. I suspect too many people feeling ignored and disrespected is the reason the country is so divided today.

With all that, I'm in favor of an impeachment inquiry beginning right now leading to an impeachment vote in late fall. I'm not confident this will get me a new president, but I believe it's the best path to success.

Bob Maline

Hudson

Political caricatures

TO THE EDITOR

This past week at the Polk County Fair, community members who visited the table hosted by the Republican Party found sheets of paper listing all the reasons Democrats/progressives are bad, worse than bad, morally bankrupt Satan-spawn with no values. If one were to believe what they're reading, they'd understandably be more inclined to look the other way for a win at all cost approach of their team. Foreign interference in elections? Worth it. Voter suppression? Worth it. Gerrymandering? Worth it. Allowing big money special interests to buy elections? Worth it. Connecting the dots: a political party that has tapped into our shared values is feeding us lies and the net effect is that we hate or won't be caught dead associating with the other team and they reap the power accordingly.

1 John 2: 9 tells us "anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness." If someone is teaching us to hate our neighbor, our fellow Wisconsinite, our fellow American and we fall for it, we're handing ourselves over to be used.

We are neighbors, Wisconsinites, Americans. We have shared values and different ideas for how to solve problems. Neither side has a monopoly on the right answer. The best solutions pull from philosophical ideals underlying both sides. Like wings of a bird, we need to pull from both sides to fly.

We have real problems tugging at the fabric of our local communities. We can't begin to solve them if we're trapped in this us vs. them nonsense. We need to stop being willing to let others reduce our views of our neighbors to a partisan caricature. Perhaps instead, we can start seeing each other in the light of God's love that He has for all of his people.

Sarah Yacoub

Hudson