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Juvenile detention move – are you serious?

Letter to the Editor

 


Our Okanogan County commissions are considering a grave injustice to families and the future of our county, thinking that a “potential” budget savings solution is to send our presently troubled children out of sight and out of mind.

The Omak juvenile detention facility is aged and needs to be brought up to code. But, doing a cost/benefit analysis of capital improvement costs, operating costs and lost jobs against outsourcing this responsibility to another facility 140 miles away is incomprehensible and irresponsible. Do the commissioners have an estimated cost for the lost lives of the next generation of citizens that these children represent? Is there a cost value to the pain and loss of separated families? Would the commissioners be seriously considering this if even one of them had a family member in juvenile detention? I think not.

Many people are protesting this potential move — judges, school district leaders, probation officers, law enforcement, newspaper editors and many concerned citizens. Our commissioners are not being stewards of this county if they do not share the same values as the majority of us do. This issue is not a matter of cost; it is a matter of the future of our next generation of citizens.

I urge readers to send emails, make phone calls, write letters to the commissioners, and attend the public meetings being held March 15 and 29, April 12 and 26, and May 31 about the future of juvenile detention for Okanogan County.

Sharon Sumpter

Winthrop

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