In 2020, millions of us marched to demand an end to police brutality and racist policing. We called on our government to defund the police and redirect public funds toward healthcare, schools, housing and the environment. Lane County residents now have an opportunity to put our money where our mouths were. The May election is coming up. On the ballot is a public safety levy which would maintain current levels of funding for jail beds, including 16 beds for children. The Sheriff’s Office argues that Lane County Jail supports troubled youths, but I think kids should be in school and not jail.
The Sheriff’s Office also argues that Lane County Jail is an important provider of mental health and addiction treatment services. But imprisoning people leads to worse mental health outcomes and does not stop addiction, so we should fund actual mental health and addiction treatment services instead. Instead of locking more people up, we should stop crime at its roots by directing public funds toward eradicating problems like poverty. Vote “no” on the public safety levy. Vote “no” on Measure 20-340.