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Re: "Why we need more than a new jail" in Aug. 28 Letters from our Readers


Repeating history that failed us is not the answer

In response to the opinion piece about addicts, and a new jail being built: There’s a few layers to her argument that I just can’t agree with here ... absolutely no empathy, for one. I’m not saying feel sorry, coddle, or enable those stuck in the grips of their addiction, but to not see that there’s still a human being underneath the dysfunction is when hope is truly lost.

I was given multiple chances, lessened sentences, deferred prosecutions, and treatment options because the judicial system has ALREADY tried zero tolerance and stiff sentences. Does no one remember the war on drugs!? Repeating history that failed human beings will never be the answer.

I speak and tell my story all across the ENTIRE REGION, teach, mentor, facilitate, produce, record, and inspire others to chase their dreams because judges and systems gave me opportunities to prove I had the capacity to change ... quickly followed by a community that supported my vision.

Finger pointing and blame will get us nowhere. Oh, it’s the cops; no, its the courts; no, it’s probation; it’s treatment, or lack of services, the addict. There’s enough accountability to go around an entire cycle, a cycle of dysfunction, resentment, and blame [that] gets us nowhere. We’ve been at it for decades, yet, here we are. 

PSA y’all: We live in a flawed system (all the way around). Community engagement and building services and activities that support a sober community is one of many answers. We can build more jails, treatment centers, and prisons, but if we continue to stick our community members BACK in environments that don’t support their unique needs, then we’ll continue to witness casualties.

Thank you for your opinion. We all have our own perceptions, so here’s mine from the very trenches you’re so disgusted with.


We Do Recover. 

James Pakootas 

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