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  For those of you outside of Warren County, you may not know what is going on, but to put it simply, there is a debate in town over whether or not inmates at the county jail should or should not receive medications for Mental Health diagnosis.  Normally I wouldn’t put a letter to the editor here, but I felt the person who wrote this letter to the editor found in the Warren Times Observer on December 19, 2007 raised some good points, so I decided to post it here.

Sheriff statement

12/19/2007 – Dear Editor: Fine men with good intention occasionally slip up. I was disappointed reading the comments of the sheriff concerning mental health care in his jail. Zingers like “happy pills” and “all juiced up” I’d expect from the Larry ‘The Cable Guy,’ not Larry “The Sheriff Guy.”

Rehabilitation begins with excepting personal responsibility for your choices, paying your debt to society and making a conscious decision to be a member of society every day. If drug therapy helps reverse poor decision making then medicine should be embraced and encouraged, not ridiculed as a recreational perk of being locked down in county jail. This link reinforces the value of mental health care during incarceration http://www.depts.ttu.edu/psy/psy.php?page=spotlight.html.

Time behind bars does nothing to make the Warren safer from criminals. However treatment (all types) during incarceration creates a better chance for security in the county. Unfortunately Larry “The Sheriff Guy’s” comments guarantee job growth for law enforcement not safety for Warrenites. Those in custody will reoffend when repatriation into society does not include addressing mental health issues.

The sheriffs statement ‘What do you expect’ referenced a WTO article he attributed for contributing to a ‘higher than usual’ expenditure for medicine was reckless at best, condescending at worse. To infer the incarcerated ask for (and receive) psychotropic drugs is with out merit and lacks standing in fact. His views are beneath the office he has the privilege of holding and insulting to the fine men and women of the WCS department whom serve the citizens faithfully in Warren County. An ‘over the top’ statement from an ‘under informed’ mind broad brushed and stereotyped. Larry “The Sheriff Guy” doesn’t have the medical background nor the clinical expertise to evaluate and decide whom benefits from treatment.

The problem with speaking stupidly about important subjects….is you get better with practice. Why were commissioners silent for the outrageous statement rebuking a policy they fund? This is why agencies have spokesmen (or women). Its easier to maintain professional credibility when a foolish position is spoken for you…instead of speaking foolishly on behalf of your department. WCS dept. needs to go on record by publicly supporting all policies in place making Warren safe, not condoning Larry “The Sheriff Guy’s” one man show.

David Klasen

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