Prisons as hospitals
(M)entally ill people shouldn’t be in his jail, they should be getting treatment.
The problem is that South Carolina offers too few treatment possibilities for the mentally ill, particularly those who may not have a way to pay for expensive care. Many mentally ill people end up incarcerated in the jail for lack of an alternative.…
The state needs to step up and join the effort by replacing some of the beds that have been eliminated for inpatient mental health treatment. There used to be thousands of those beds in the state. Now there are hundreds and a long waiting list to occupy them.
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Amarenda Dasa, the young man who hanged himself in the (Spartanburg County) jail last week, had a long history of mental illness. Authorities and doctors were well aware of his struggles long before he was arrested for stabbing his younger brother to death.
Yet, more than two years after his (brother’s) death, after twice being found mentally unfit to stand trial, he was still in the Spartanburg County Detention Facility. Why wasn’t he in a mental health treatment facility?
There are those who will have a hard time dredging up sympathy for an accused killer, but that’s not the point. Any of us could need mental health treatment. Any of our family members could need help. It needs to be available to them.
It’s a false economy to save money by warehousing the mentally ill in our jails. Some of the costs are hidden because we impose them on law enforcement. And withholding the proper treatment from people ends up incurring larger costs as their problems become deeper.
(T)he loss of nine black men and women at the hands of a white gunman has provoked overflowing memorial services, peaceful marches, a presidential eulogy and countless tributes from around the city and across the country.
It sparked not chaos but a quiet determination to love with a greater generosity of spirit and work harder to heal any longstanding wounds that still divide our Charleston community.
And there is work to be done.
Most notably, the state Legislature must take action to close the so-called Charleston loophole that renders background checks for gun buyers too ineffective. Rather than address that critical flaw, many lawmakers instead spent the last legislative year trying to tear down the few remaining rules that help ensure that guns are carried safely and responsibly by law-abiding owners.
That is a brazen disservice to the memories of the innocent people who lost their lives two years ago at Mother Emanuel. Their deaths demonstrated all too painfully that South Carolina needs more robust and effective — not weaker — gun laws.
Post & Courier
Gov. Henry McMaster has the right approach to the S.C. Conservation Bank: fix any problems but do not allow an important tool for land preservation in South Carolina to fade into history.
He used his veto power to reject the General Assembly’s action to take away the Conservation Bank’s funding and sunset the entity created in 2002 as an ongoing source to acquire real estate in the interest of preservation.
“South Carolina’s natural resources are a central driver of our economic prosperity,” McMaster said in his veto message. “Twenty-eight million people visit our state each year, contributing to a $20 billion tourism industry.”
“While I agree with many of the criticisms regarding the Conservation Bank, I believe it is a useful tool for protecting our environment and maintaining our competitiveness.”
Criticisms of SCCB include those in a legislatively funded audit: overpayment for properties, over-committing its budget, failing to provide enough public access and having a “subjective and ineffective application process” for grants awarded. Some lawmakers claim the agency is a way for wealthy land owners to receive tax breaks.
McMaster urged the Legislature to sustain his veto and set about a “reasoned debate about the Bank’s future and mission.”