Progress Made in the De-Criminalization of Illness
Prosecutors in my office are asking themselves serious questions about the future intersections of the community, and of the individual. Is that person, in light of the evidence and charges, someone who needs to be locked away from society in order to protect public safety? Or is that person someone who committed a crime where we clearly see the root cause of their choice was poverty, addiction, mental health or some combination thereof? If so, then we look for the compassionate and innovative answer. We divert them into the appropriate treatment and we delay charging them, instead giving them the opportunity to make better choices for their life. We help direct them to resources that can give them a path out of poverty. We have a broad array of partners in the community; addiction treatment providers, organizations who offer job training and financial literacy, organizations that provide stable housing and parenting support, these are partnerships my team has been building since the election in order to be better positioned to connect people with the help they need.