Excerpt: People's attitudes, and even the attitudes of local state and national governments, to some extent, are changing. The arrest-them, jail-them, release-them and do-it-all-over-again approach of our criminal justice system that punishes addiction and the crimes associated with it is not effective and not productive. In some way it encourages a cycle of despair and hopelessness, and crime and punishment is the single-highest taxpayer expense across the spectrum of governments.
We believe Erie County Health commissioner Pete Schade's hope to establish an inpatient treatment clinic is a worthy one. We believe it is an expensive proposition — but a wise investment — and a better opportunity and alternative to the lock 'em up, release 'em later with no treatment approach currently dominant in response to problems associated with alcohol and drug addiction and issues of mental health.
Either way, taxpayers spend money. Investing in people and in their recoveries is a better approach.
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