How About Some Good News?
Last October, Missoula’s new top municipal judge, Kathleen Jenks, stopped all municipal referrals to the treatment courts, also known as co-occurring courts. Jenks also halted the work program, which began straining the capacity of Missoula’s jail.
The good news? Referrals have resumed:
Municipal Court will again order defendants to Missoula Co-Occurring Treatment Court after having stopped referrals for more than 10 months.
“There’s a lot of communication that we’ve put into place, and I really think it’s going to work this time,” said Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Jenks.
For those who understand the challenging dynamics of mental illness, substance abuse, armed service related PTSD, and how the jails and hospitals and mental health professionals are all struggling to meet increased need with less resources, any little bit of good news helps, and this qualifies.
I also wanted to link to an article after reading this tweet from @Lgpguin:
Read police log or click on #scanner app and listen; you will know cops need more #mentalhealthmatters training. Constant
A Billings Gazette article I found, titled Finding a way through crisis, may be 3 years old, but it describes the CIT model:
Crisis Intervention Teams have formed in more than 35 communities across the country, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which helped develop the program model.
Launched in Memphis, Tenn., the program builds collaboration between law enforcement, mental health providers and others to help keep mentally ill people out of jail and unhurt when officers handle calls.
It was created in 1988 after Memphis cops shot a mentally ill man because they were unable to get a knife from him.
Billings organized its crisis team in 2006, after the then-new Community Crisis Center used grant funding to send a few people to the national training program. Since then, 173 law enforcement officers from Eastern Montana have completed the training in Billings.
There are lots of great people continuing to push for expanding that number of trained law enforcement officers, but implementing the CIT model means more than just training law enforcement. I attended a presentation on this CIT model in April, and it was incredibly encouraging to hear the presenters describe the benefits.
How does this relate to Naomi Klein’s term Disaster Capitalism, which she coined in her book The Shock Doctrine, you ask? Good question.
Here is one definition I found:
the practice (by a government, regime, etc) of taking advantage of a major disaster to adopt liberal economic policies that the population would be less likely to accept under normal circumstances
Basically, the idea is that during a crisis, whether it’s a natural disaster or a weaponized loan from the IMF, the resulting shake up makes things possible that weren’t previously possible. What Klein’s book doesn’t delve into is how that limited space contains an equal possibility for a positive re-structuring.
Perpetually decreasing funding/resources and increasing need is a crisis for a lot of people, in Montana and beyond. It’s easy to get mired in the negativity of that reality (I do all the time).
But it is also possible to see this as an opportunity as well.
And finally, a post with “Good News” in its title must include the best news of the day: DOMA IS DEAD!!!
Now, if we can just get that asshole in Texas to knock it the fuck off, the trifecta of good news can be completed.
Seriously, Rick Perry, don’t.