Decriminalizing Mental Illness
People with mental illnesses who break minor laws, such as disturbing the peace, end up in jail or the emergency room. Baton Rouge is not alone. Mental health services across the country have been cut, making jails our nation's de facto asylums.
Baton Rouge has a chance to fix this problem. The ballot on Dec. 8 includes a small tax to pay for a mental health treatment center. Instead of prison or emergency rooms, nonviolent offenders who are mentally ill or drug addicted will be placed into treatment.
Getting care will reduce overall tax costs, as therapies are less expensive than emergency room treatment or jail time, and police are freed up to return to their beats. Please vote for the tax in December. You will show people who need help that they are not alone. And the parish will save $5 million a year in incarceration costs.