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Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 4:17 am | Overcast 53º


Letter to the Editor: Prop. 47 Points to Need for Stronger Prevention Programs

Most cities and counties need help advancing strategies that stop cycles of crime without an over-reliance on state prisons and local jails. Thirty years of prison growth has meant slashed support for local prevention and treatment programs.

Proposition 47 is about more than a change to the law, it’s about a change in the culture of law enforcement. Rather than waiting on someone to commit a serious crime, we should be looking to get individuals connected to the services and treatment before they face criminal charges.

Investment in programs that rehabilitate, provide support, housing and employment — that is how we can close the chapter on mass incarceration. That is how we slow the revolving door between the local jails and our communities.

We know firsthand how misguided our policies relating to people with dual-diagnosis have been. We are Families ACT!: Santa Barbara Families Advocating for Compassionate Treatment. Many of us have lost our adult children to this cruel system and many of our children are still at risk.

We have fought long and hard to change these laws, and we will not stop until compassionate, effective and just treatment options are created in Santa Barbara County!

— Suzanne Riordan is executive director of Santa Barbara-based Families ACT!

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