There is no question that our jail is overcrowded and underfunded. November's ballot will give voters the opportunity to rectify both issues. A levy to fund expanded staffing supports our law enforcement officers by creating safer working conditions and improving community safety by making room for those who have earned incarceration while diverting those with mental health and addiction issues out of the jail setting.

Everyone deserves a safe work environment. I am grateful that we have officers who dedicate their days to operating these challenging surroundings. This levy would fund critically needed law enforcement positions to ensure that both officers and inmates are safe.

It’s been estimated that nearly 80 percent of the inmates in our jail struggle with mental health or addiction issues. One way to alleviate some of the overcrowding is to redirect those who are not a danger to society and best helped outside of a jail through pre-trial mental health screenings or drug treatment programs. This levy would provide funds for three new people to staff such programs.

Last year we voted to renovate a woefully out-of-date facility. This year, let’s vote to help all the humans who inhabit it.

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Sarah Sullivan

Helena

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