Additional funding needed for mental health programs and services
by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, October 2022) Individuals suffering from mental health crises often find themselves in court when it would be more appropriate for them to receive treatment that would allow them to have a path toward recovery from their illness. Instead, many end up in our jails or prisons often serving mandatory minimum sentences required by state law to charges leveled by a prosecutor.
With the discussion of whether we should build a prison in Cuyahoga County, there should also come a discussion about making more resources available for mental health programs and services. Such programs help keep individuals healthy and away from hospital emergency rooms and jails and prisons. A promise was made when the Greater Cleveland Congregations backed off from supporting a community benefits program as part of the Quicken Loans Arena getting taxpayer dollars. The promise was to fund two mental health facilities – one on the East Side and one on the West Side – thus far that promise has not been kept.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Deborah Turner, who said she has served on the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities docket, said at a September 13 sentencing hearing before her court that: “We as a community are not doing enough about mental health and it has got to change. It has been obvious for years that there are mental health issues this community has failed to address. This court would be remiss if I did not say something about mental health.”
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