Friday, August 18, 2006

Sad day in New Mexico

While the Albuquerque City Council continues to weigh the option of a citywide Kendra's Law ordinance, Albuquerque's two major newspapers call them on the delay in strongly worded editorials.

The editorial in the Albuquerque Tribune notes somberly that August 18 "is a day to reflect on the horrific costs of mental illnesses ignored."

The Albuquerque Journal's editorial ("City missed first step in helping mentally ill") blasts the Council's delay in acting and clarifies some misconceptions:

Chávez's proposal balances public safety with protecting civil liberties. There is no picking up the odd, the quirky or the angry on somebody's whim. A relative, social worker or police officer would have to petition the court, and a judge would have to rule a person needed mandatory care and approve an enforceable treatment program, be it taking medication or having a supervised living arrangement.

Relying on the criticism that there aren't enough services for the mentally ill is a delaying tactic that creates a dangerous circle— there aren't enough services so there isn't any treatment, there isn't any treatment because there aren't enough services. Kendra's Law would target only the most extreme and dangerous cases of mentally ill residents who need help.

Labels: , , ,