Sheriff wages a noble battle on behalf of the mentally ill.
Kudos to Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek for his informative article ("A jail is no place for the mentally ill," Nov. 25) regarding the incarceration of people with mental illnesses. Hennepin County is fortunate to have a progressive sheriff.
I have been involved with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill since its inception in 1979, and I must say the headline would have been as appropriate then as now. While great strides in public understanding of diseases of the brain have been made, there is still a tendency for legislatures to shortchange funding for community-based services and in-patient care.
Stanek alludes to this when he describes how the Minnesota Department of Human Services routinely violates orders of the Hennepin County District Court to place the mentally ill in hospitals or community-based settings for appropriate treatment. Adequate funding must be provided in state and local budgets to enable sufficient and effective treatment centers for those so tragically afflicted with behavior altering brain diseases.
So, fellow citizens, please contact your elected representatives and ask them to increase funding, and continue to support Stanek and his well-trained staff.
ROBERT NUGENT, BROOKLYN PARK
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