I just watched Round 4, Public Safety: Law & Justice, of the Countywide Community Forums. It features a panel discussion that includes a King County Council member, the Sheriff, King County Prosecutor, and King County judges. What continues to strike me is how much of our public safety system deals with drug and alcohol addictions. The primary topic during the first half of the forum was how police and the courts deal with people who have addiction and mental illness problems. The majority of people who enter the justice system do so with a drug/alcohol problem and/or a mental illness.
After watching the forum, I couldn't help but think, once again, that it is a shame that none of the panelists talked about PREVENTION. They talked about the need for treatment but they didn't talk about how we can prevent addiction so that people don't end up in the justice system.