[Hpn] Las Vegas, NV - Editorial: Nice to see change of priorities - Las Vegas SUN - August 15, 2002

Homeless Daily News Homeless Daily News <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Fri, 16 Aug 2002 20:58:52 -0500


Nice to see change of priorities 

Gov. Guinn said one of his spending priorities, 
will be for increasing the scope of mental health
services in Southern Nevada.

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Editorial: Las Vegas SUN - August 15, 2002

It was welcome news earlier this year when the state reported
that its inmate population was stabilizing, in contrast to earlier
projections of growth requiring more prison construction.

The news allowed state Director of Prisons Jackie Crawford in
April to outline a plan for slowing new construction of prisons
and using the money that would be saved for rehabilitation
programs.

Gov. Kenny Guinn reacted favorably to the plan. It specifically
proposed delaying the third construction phase at the medium
security High Desert Prison at Cold Springs and using some
of the savings to build a transitional center for soon-to-be
released inmates at the medium-security Southern Desert
Correctional Center at Indian Springs.

On Tuesday, when the state Prison Board looked approvingly at the
final figures, and realized the amount of savings, a welcome new
twist was added.

Gov. Guinn said one of his spending priorities, in lieu of the $39
million High Desert expansion, will be for increasing the scope
of mental health services in Southern Nevada.

For years, Southern Nevada has been under-served in the area of
mental health facilities.

This vital service has never fully recovered from cuts made
during the previous administration in response to a sagging
economy in the early 1990s.

Over time, a shortage of mental health services has exhibited
itself in the form of more *homelessness,* more crime and more
frustration for the family members of those who are mentally ill.

With only 20 beds for severely mentally ill [SMI] people in all of
Southern Nevada, the time has come to begin addressing the
shortcomings.

Fortunately, there will be money from the savings to also follow
through with the original plan to build a 600-bed work center at
Indian Springs for inmates nearing release.

There has always been something disturbing about the constancy of
prison construction programs.

It's nice to see that facilities for education, rehabilitation and mental 
health treatment are now overtaking new prisons on the priority list.


Copyright 2002 Las Vegas SUN, Inc.
_____________________________________________ 
source page:  http://makeashorterlink.com/?K34C21A81

H. C. Covington, Editor
Homeless Daily News
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HomelessNews/