I believe that we can keep ourselves safe, and we don’t need barbed wire or jail cells to do that. As stated by Nova Sweet from the Family Preservation Project in the May 11 Eugene Weekly, “Today we invite you to join us as we begin to imagine what a world without prisons could look like. Imagining a world that centers care and not punishment in addressing harm.”
I don’t buy into Lane County’s tactics to scare us into funding the jail by showing mugshots and listing crimes that people have been charged with. The county spins a great story about the services provided in the jail and claims that without the jail levy people would not have mental health services. I don’t buy into that, and I believe we can do better. What about all the people who have experienced harassment and decline from being in the jail? Most people in the jail have not been convicted of a crime, but are awaiting trial and cannot afford bail.
Proponents of the jail admit that, ideally, we wouldn’t need a jail — yet this is the system we have. Call me naive, but I want to live in an ideal world today, and I don’t accept the current system. Those of us with Healing Not Handcuffs (HealingNotHandcuffs.org) will continue to push for true community solutions, along with all who want to join in this effort. We’ll be working on it day after day, five years from now and long after that.